IFAD, Bangladesh invest $92 mn to aid poorest

Rome, Feb 14 (IANS/AKI) The UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Bangladesh have signed an accord to invest $92.4 million to help 303,000 of the poorest rural households in flood-prone areas, IFAD said.

The six-year project covers six flood-prone districts in northern Bangladesh and aims to “sustainably improve incomes and promote resilience to extreme weather conditions” for the families, IFAD stated.

The funds include a $63.2 million loan and a $1.2 million grant from IFAD and $27.9 million from the government of Bangladesh, the UN agency said.

“The high incidence of poverty in the project area is due to seasonal flooding, inadequate rural infrastructure, low agricultural productivity, and limited livelihood opportunities outside farming,” said Benoit Thierry, the IFAD country programme manager for Bangladesh.

“The rural population faces challenges in accessing services and markets. The situation is aggravated by seasonal ‘outmigration’, often leaving women to look after their families and land. Together with the government, we are addressing these challenges,” Thierry added.

The project will build weatherproofed infrastructure, create off-farm employment opportunities and strengthen communities’ ability to adapt to climate change related risks in a bid to improve the resilience of rural populations, said IFAD.

The project will also pilot an early warning system managed by the communities themselves, which could be extended to other communities outside the target area, IFAD stated.

Over 11 million households have benefitted from 32 rural development programmes and projects financed by IFAD in Bangladesh, totalling $781.7 million – or $2.02 billion when co-financing is included – the agency stated.

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