IFAD, govt start supporting 50,000 small farmers
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the agriculture ministry have jointly started distributing homestead vegetable gardening (HVG) inputs and processing equipment among 50, 000 smallholder farmers from seven coastal districts.
IFAD has provided grant funding of $2 million in two phases from its Rural Poor Stimulus Facility (RPSF) to complement the government’s efforts to prevent food crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic, IFAD said in a press release on Sunday.
Farmers from Pirojpur, Jhalokathi, Barguna, Patuakhali and Bhola are receiving agricultural input support alongside the training on sustainable agronomic practices to produce nutritious crops on the small homestead plots.
Additional farmers from 12 upazilas in Chattogram and four upazilas in Khulna will also receive harvesting clippers and plastic crates to ease harvesting, storing and transporting of produce.
Particular emphasis has been placed on empowering women, with female farmers receiving appliances necessary for processing and packaging various spices and the requisite training on hygienic processing.
While inaugurating the distribution programme, Md Mesbahul Islam, senior secretary of the agriculture ministry, said such initiatives will not only meet the farmers’ family nutrition needs, this will also encourage other farmers to adopt the practice of using homestead land for nutritious vegetables.
Sherina Tabassum, IFAD’s officer-in-charge for Bangladesh, said, “This initiative supports the farmers in homestead cultivation enabling them to produce early varieties of vegetables and fetch higher prices.”
The inclusion of the female farmers will help to increase their additional income, improve dietary diversity and micronutrient adequacy, and ensure family nutrition, she added.