IFAD in Bangladesh
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) was set up as an International Financial Institution of the United Nations in 1977. Being one of the founding member countries of IFAD, Bangladesh and IFAD enjoy a truly special relationship for more than 40 years. IFAD’s first loan to Bangladesh was approved in 1978 and it was in close partnership with Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to implement the Pabna Irrigation and Rural Development Project (PIRDP) (1978–1992).
Today, Bangladesh is one of largest portfolios of IFAD globally, with a cumulative portfolio amounting to US$ US$ 2.3 billion. Starting with its first loan with GOB in 1978, IFAD has invested US$ 913.4 million in loans and grants for 34 rural development projects and improving the livelihoods of 11.7 million households. 27 projects have been completed already and seven projects are currently under implementation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives and Ministry of Finance.
With seven ongoing projects, IFAD’s current Bangladesh programme amounts to US$ 988.8 million. This includes IFAD financing amounts to US$ 415.78 million; Government’s contribution of USD 135.9 million; Co-financing from other donors (WB and bilateral governments and beneficiary contribution); and Outreach of 4.5 million households or 18.9 million people, which is approximately 21% of the rural population of Bangladesh. Furthermore, another $18.07 million for COVID recovery activities was approved on 28 December 2020 to complement the government’s stimulus packages to rebuild microenterprises and support smallholders, who were affected adversely by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to further strengthen value chain development activities.
IFAD supported Bangladesh during the COVID situation grant financing in two phases with an amount of US$ 915,000 and US$ 1,092,379 from RPSF (Rural Poor Stimulus Facility), a seed fund established in IFAD to address the challenges of COVID-19. The RPSF grant supports 37,400 farming households for nutrition gardening or homestead vegetable gardens in line with the Honourable Prime Minister’s directions to utilize all available piece of land for cultivation. Moreover, this will also be used to provide inputs to the farmers, and reduce post-harvest losses by providing the farmers with new tools and improve their capacity by training them in post-harvest techniques and primary processing. Bangladesh is among the first batch of eight countries that receives grant funds from RPSF and became the first country in the Asia Pacific Region (APR) to roll it out on the ground.
The Bangladesh portfolio is one of the most highlighted and highly regarded country programmes in IFAD given the high performance of the portfolio that includes very strong buy-in from the Government of Bangladesh and strong partnership with the Economic Relations Division of the Ministry of Finance and other line ministries. IFAD has been playing a key role in the transformation of our rural areas, investing in rural development, helping fight against poverty and food insecurity, and building resilience. Not only that, innovation has been key to IFAD’s investments in Bangladesh since the very beginning and the idea of finding creative solutions has been instrumental in ensuring that the institution’s limited resources were being used in the most efficient way. The Bangladesh portfolio of IFAD over the years have produced many results and successes, in addition to benefitting over 52 million people since the first loan was signed.
In 2014, IFAD financed Microfinance for Marginal and Small Farmers Project (MFMSFP) implemented by the Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation received the Development Impact Honors Award from the US Treasury for innovative agricultural financing.
In 2016, Bangladesh achieved the highest level of disbursement in IFAD.
In 2017, the Char Development and Settlement Project (CDSP) received the best tree plantation of the year award from the Honourable Prime Minister.
In 2017, CDSP also received IFAD gender award in recognition for its outstanding work in women’s empowerment.
In 2018, the Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project was ranked as the #1 project in terms of performance ratings among 250+ IFAD-financed projects globally. The performance ratings are based on the annual supervision missions.
Currently, the Promoting Agricultural Commercialization and Enterprises Project is ranked as the #2 project in IFAD.
Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Skeikh Hasina, at the invitation of the President of IFAD, participated at the 41st Governing Council of IFAD from 13-14 February 2018 to present a key note speech on the theme “From fragility to long-term resilience: Investing in sustainable rural economics”
Currently, Bangladesh is the Alternate Member of 36-member Executive Board which deals with the Programme of work and budget; approve projects, programmes and grants; action on matters related to policy; application for membership and staffing within the fund.
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IFAD pledges $18.07m for pandemic-hit microenterprises, smallholders (The Daily Star)