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Agriculture and Food Security

Image of a rice farmer in Bangladesh
Rajib, a USAID-trained farmer, proudly shows off golden strands of rice plants harvested from his field in the district of Khulna.
Wasif Hasan/USAID

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world with a population of over 160 million and a projected population, based on current growth trends, of well 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. This is particularly true in the area of food security – roughly half of Bangladeshis are unable to access sufficient food to meet their dietary needs.

USAID partners with the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) to improve the availability and access to nutritious, domestically produced foods. The U.S. Government’s Feed the Future activities improve productivity and agricultural diversity in targeted areas of southern Bangladesh and accelerate private sector competitiveness by promoting economic growth, good corporate practices and supply chain development to benefit poor farmers and businesses.  In addition, USAID assistance improves the formulation and implementation of food policy in Bangladesh through research, monitoring, training and coordination within government agencies.

Productivity

USAID supports science, technology and innovation research that develops and promotes productive and climate smart technologies which will maximize impact on agriculture sector growth.  USAID’s capacity building support to public and private extension services also enhances the GOB’s efforts to have public extension agents integrate nutrition-sensitive and gender-inclusive messaging within their production related messages.

Diversification

USAID programs to diversify sources of income include broadening the varieties of farm-raised plant, fish and animals, adopting post-harvest practices and intermediate level processing and promoting off-farm incomes.  USAID works closely with the public and private sectors to identify market opportunities and strategies to expand the new and underdeveloped crops production that have the potential to increase household incomes, improve nutrition and contribute to greater economic empowerment of women. 

Market System

USAID programs upgrade technology and processes to improve the flow of market information and ultimately raise overall food and non-food value chain competitiveness.  This complex system includes working with the production systems, end markets, support services such as financial and business development services and mechanization, value chain governance, the natural ecosystem, and the socio-cultural context.  Facilitating greater functionality of Bangladesh’s market system will lead to sustainable agricultural development that will reach scale through private sector investments.

Women’s Empowerment

Empowerment of women is fundamental to a country’s sustainable and inclusive economic growth, including improved agriculture sector performance.  USAID programs promote women’s empowerment at the farm, community and household levels, which include behavior change messaging to both men and women.  USAID addresses gender gaps and create opportunities for women to actively participate in economic activities within the private sector.

Private Sector Competitiveness

USAID improves the competitiveness and growth of selected private sector industries, with the objective to increase off-farm employment opportunities for the poor.  USAID programs improve private sector competitiveness by enhancing the business enabling and policy environment, boosting relevant skills of men and women in the workforce and management, promoting implementation of quality standards and management systems, improving marketing capabilities, increasing business productivity and facilitating increased access to financial services. 

Enhanced business enabling environment

USAID actively engages in assisting the GOB to modernize and improve the efficiency of its Customs operations, as well as address shortcomings in the business enabling environment, with the goal to increase overall competitiveness and stimulate economic growth.  USAID provides technical assistance to reduce non-tariff barriers to trade, which includes revising relevant policies, regulations and procedures, leading to significant reductions in both the time and cost of common business processes.

 

Results

In 2017, USAID programs in Bangladesh:

  • Directly benefited 1,205,000 households in the Feed the Future Zone of Influence.
  • 1,100,000 farmers applied new technologies in their farms as a result of USAID assistance that promoted producing and using plants for food, fuel, fiber and land reclamation, or agronomic practices and technologies.
  • 214,000 hectares of agricultural land has been cultivated by the project beneficiaries who used new and improved agronomic practices, and produced a variety of crops such as rice, maize, wheat and vegetables.
  • Enabled the private sector farms to invest $2,000,000 into agricultural value chains for new and upgraded processing facilities, mechanization, milling and other value adding activities. 

Twice the Rice is the story of Taraoni, a rice farmer from rural Bangladesh. Growing up, Taroni’s father often said to him, “Son, rice is our life. Rice is everything.” With improved farming skills he learned from Feed the Future, Taroni is now yielding twice the rice from the same piece of land. As a husband and a father of two children, Taroni’s boosted yields and the resulting higher income is improving his family’s future. He is now able to provide options for his children to go into any profession they desire.

 

Last updated: July 26, 2018

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