In Bangladesh, there is a critical need to develop Farmer Organizations (FOs) and, at the same time, there is an opportunity to do so thanks to the results of the IAPP by building on the FOs with which the Ministry of Agriculture and FAO have been working. This project will render the farmer organizations into sustainable partners to work with private sector companies for the benefit of their smallholder farmer members. In doing so, the project will provide the Government of Bangladesh with a model for sustainable outreach to farmers and village-level organizational development that it may scale up.
This Missing Middle Initiative (MMI) pilot project works in Rangpur and Barisal Divisions to enhance 55 smallholder farmers’ organizations’ capacities in governance, financial management, negotiations, communications, and leadership, thereby benefiting 10,000 smallholder farmers.
By briefing farmers on financing options and training them on how to select and access financial services that fit their needs, the project also seeks to link farmers to the market through pilot activities that take them through a process of identifying profitable opportunities. We also help prepare business plans to capitalize on those opportunities, and we provide the technical advisory services farmers need to implement their plans.
The project provides a matching grant of US$15,000–20,000 to farmers’ organizations for developing sustainable enterprises, subject to meeting agreed standards of institutional maturity and the presentation of a viable proposal for using the resources.
- Access to Finance
As of December 2019, the project has directly benefited more than 7,800 smallholder farmers, including more than 4,900 female farmers. The Farmer Business Facilitators, who have been nominated to receive hands-on training by each FO, have trained more than 980 members, including 560 women, on leadership and have prepared 55 business proposals using FAO’s Rural Invest Module. As a result of the buyer-seller meeting with the Bangladesh Potato Exporters Association (BPEA), participating farmers’ organizations agreed to produce and process quality potatoes.
The Department of Agricultural Extension will provide technical assistance to the farmers, and the BPEA committed to pay fair price for quality potatoes. More than 380 smallholder farmers received loans from a bank or government agency amounting to BDT 21,745,000. And, the project supported farmer organizations to successfully negotiate contracts amounting to approximately US$79,000 with agriculture value chain actors.
GAFSP Coordination Unit: