The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Bangladesh on Tuesday signed a US$92.4 million financing agreement to improve incomes and promote resilience to extreme weather conditions for 303,000 rural households in six flood-prone northern districts of Bangladesh.
The agreement for the Promoting Resilience of Vulnerable through Access to Infrastructure, Improved Skills and Information project was signed by IFAD President Gilbert F Houngbo and Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam in Rome.
The total cost of the project is US$92.4 million, including a $63.2 million loan and a $1.2 million grant from IFAD. Bangladesh government will contribute $27.9 million, says a statement of IFAD on Tuesday.
“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, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Bangladesh.
“The rural population faces challenges in accessing services and markets. The situation is aggravated by seasonal out migration, often leaving women to look after their families and land. Together with the Government, we are addressing these challenges,” he added.
The project aims to improve rural peoples’ resilience in 25 flood-prone upazilas through building weatherproofed infrastructure, creating off-farm employment opportunities, and strengthening communities’ ability to adapt to climate change related risks.
The project will put in place an early warning system managed by the communities themselves, with the scope of scaling up this technique to other communities outside the target area.
It will be implemented over six years and in six districts: Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, and Rangpur that are often flooded due to overflows of the Jamuna and Teesta rivers. The infrastructure and flood information system will benefit the overall population of the project areas.
Since 1978, IFAD has financed 32 rural development programmes and projects in Bangladesh, investing $781.7 million or $2.02 billion when co-financing is included. These projects and programmes have benefitted over eleven million rural households.
IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience.
Since 1978, IFAD, an international financial institution and a specialized UN agency based in Rome, has provided about US$19.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 474 million people worldwide.