ADB Bangladesh project to improve rural livelihoods

December 14, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Sheuli Akter

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Bangladeshi government have signed a $45 million loan agreement to expand a water resources management project in the country’s southwest region to improve agriculture and fisheries production, as well as the livelihoods of residents.

The Government of the Netherlands will provide a grant of $7 million for the project, to be administered by ADB.

Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Kazuhiko Higuchi, Country Director, Bangladesh Resident Mission of ADB, signed the agreements on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively, at a ceremony in Dhaka on Sunday.

The additional assistance will increase the scope of the Southwest Area Integrated Water Resources Planning and Management Project that has sharply increased agriculture production and benefited over 191,000 people, including landless farmers and women.

ADB and the Government of the Netherlands had provided $20 million and $12.5 million for the original project respectively, which was approved in 2005, and has renovated dilapidated infrastructures and established a participatory water management plannng and management system with livelihood improvement supports.

“We have seen considerable benefits in the project pilot areas of Narail and Chenchuri Beel already, with rice production nearly doubling and fish production rising 30%,” stated Country Director Kazuhiko Higuchi.

“This new financing will allow replication of the success of the project across nine nearby subproject areas, covering 84,000 hectares, and extending benefits to additional 470,000 people.”

In each of the new subproject areas, support will be given to enrol farmers into water management organisations to help them better operate and maintain the water infrastructure, and develop integrated water management plans. The expanded project will also support the development of skills for members of water management organisations to help them increase the productivity of their agriculture and fishing activities, and to enhance their livelihood opportunities. On the infrastructure side, funds will be used to renovate or build gated water retention structures and flood embankments, and to re-excavate clogged drainage and irrigation canals.

The expanded project is expected to be completed in June 2022.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire).  Previously she had worked for Bangladesh’ top news agency, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and top newspaper (now defunct) The Bangladesh Observer. She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.

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