Bangladesh Sees A-Maizing Yields through USAID-brokered Private Sector Deal

A farmer in Bangladesh prepares her maize harvest for the market. Yields of maize have nearly doubled under a new U.S.-Bangladesh partnership.
USAID/Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice and Diversified Crops

Bangladesh’s new bumper maize crop is the stalk of the town.  Feed the Future and USAID, with enterprising friends in the U.S. and Bangladeshi private sectors, are making it happen. Here’s how:

USAID/Bangladesh, through the Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice and Diversified Crops (RDC) activity, has developed a business model in partnership with U.S. and Bangladesh private companies to ensure farmers’ access to high-yielding Pioneer USA hybrid maize and rice seeds.  In Bangladesh, the government typically controls much of the research, release, and sale of seed, which hampers innovation and access to premier seeds. Tackling this challenge, the USAID-funded activity partnered with a U.S. agricultural company, Corteva Agriscience (which markets Pioneer brand seeds) in late 2019, through their Bangladeshi agent, Petrochem Group (PCL).

With technical input from both Corteva and PCL, the partnership has since provided training on marketing and branding of seed, increased farmers’ awareness of hybrid seed benefits and improved agronomic practices, and supported seed dealers through use of information and communication technology.  As a result, sales of Pioneer seed increased from 26 metric tons (MT) to 69 MT (a 165-percent increase), maize yield nearly doubled from 6.8 MT per hectare to 11.8 MT per hectare, and 11,000 farm families were able to boost their income by using improved seed varieties. 

Following the initial success, the RDC project team is leading discussions with Corteva U.S. and PCL to scale up the model across their Bangladesh supply chain, with additional investments of over $100,000 from the private sector that could help 50,000 more farming families.  The partnership is unique: it taps the private sector’s technical expertise to improve the seed supply chain, creates better market linkages with farmers, and enables retailers to strengthen farmer services. It also aligns with Corteva’s business plans to accelerate growth in Bangladesh and draws in additional private sector funds to support Bangladesh’s journey to self-reliance.

Stay tuned for news of the next harvest.  It is bound to reach new heights.

Last updated: July 28, 2020

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