Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world with a population of over 165 million, projected to grow to over 200 million by 2050. This demographic burden places tremendous economic, social, and environmental strain on the country and dramatically affects its ability to provide for its citizens. Bangladesh has the largest Feed the Future portfolio in the world with an annual budget of over $45 million. The U.S. Government’s Feed the Future activities in Bangladesh – led by USAID – focus on research, trade and private sector competitiveness, nutrition, and modernizing and expanding agricultural policies, production and growth, and responding to communities impacted by the Rohingya refugee crisis.
The Feed the Future program operates in two distinct geographical regions: the Zone of Influence – 21 districts in southwestern Bangladesh; and the Zone of Resilience in the southeastern Bandarban and Cox’s Bazar districts among communities impacted by the influx of Rohingya refugees. Each year, Feed the Future programs help approximately one million people adopt new technologies and techniques to increase income and, on average, garner combined sales of more than $500 million each year.
Increasing Productivity in Targeted Crops and Goods
USAID trains farmers and commercial producers to adopt new techniques that improve productivity in aquaculture, livestock, horticulture, rice, maize, pulses, oilseeds, flowers, and natural fibers. Our programs connect farmers to buyer-linked value chain actors and farmer services, leading to increased sales opportunities and higher quality produce, leading to greater access to new domestic and international markets.
Improving Diversification, Private Sector Competitiveness and Policy
USAID works closely with the public and private sectors to identify market opportunities and strategies for expanding the production of targeted crops and commodities that have the greatest potential to increase incomes, improve nutrition, and contribute to greater economic empowerment, especially for women. These partnerships also increase job opportunities for the poor away from the farms. USAID also promotes a more business-friendly policy environment, strengthens management and marketing skills among the Bangladeshi workforce, improves standards of quality, and increases access to loans and financial services.
Sharpening Focus on Trade
USAID helps the Government of Bangladesh modernize and improve the efficiency of its customs operations to make it easier to do business, increase national competitiveness, and accelerate economic growth. USAID assistance also helps reduce non-tariff barriers to trade, including revising policies, regulations, and procedures. This has helped reduce the average processing time for imports and exports by two full working days, expedited customs declaration processing by nearly 70 percent, and provided traders with real-time information and guidance through a new customs website. This has saved the government and businesses time and money while facilitating Bangladesh’s graduation from Least Developed Country status by 2026.
USAID investments leverage public-private partnerships to rehabilitate and upgrade infrastructure like local feeder roads and collection centers that enable producers to transport commodities to markets more efficiently. Since 2013, USAID has invested over $27 million to rehabilitate more than 100 kilometers of rural roads and construct 27 agricultural produce collection points and marketplaces. USAID will rehabilitate additional roads and market centers over the next five years, boosting the last-mile market connectivity.
- In 2022, over 765,000 farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs adopted new and improved technologies and management practices, which helped generate $530 million in annual sales.
- USAID support provided access to more than $3 million in loans and finance services in 2022.
- USAID collaborated with companies and machinery service providers to sell more than $2.3 million in agricultural equipment, helping more than 50,000 farmers utilize machinery technologies.
- USAID leveraged $8.2 million in private sector investment.
To overcome the COVID pandemic, 4,500 USAID-supported dairy farmers were linked with processors who marketed the dairy products on online platforms, resulting in $1.3 million in additional investment from private dairy processors that provided better quality inputs and services to more than 50,000 smallholder livestock farmers.