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Agricultural Growth and Employment

Denmark and Bangladesh have a long history of bilateral cooperation in the agriculture sector. Denmark's strategy to support the agricultural sector in Bangladesh includes a strong poverty reduction focus, together with special emphasis on poorer women, nutrition, marketing and environment. Denmark financed projects support capacity building of the farmers and delivery of essential services nearer to the farmers’ door steps.

Why is Denmark supporting food and agriculture?

Agriculture is the dominant economic activity in Bangladesh and regarded as the lifeline of the Bangladeshi economy. Its role is vital in enhancing productivity, profitability and employment in the rural areas to improve the wellbeing of the poor. As the largest private enterprise, agriculture contributes about 16% of the GDP, sustains the livelihood of about 52% of the labour force, and remains a major supplier of raw materials for agro-based industries. Agriculture is also a social sector concerned with issues like food and nutritional security, income generation and poverty reduction. Hence, improvement in agricultural sector performance and acceleration of its growth are critical to reducing poverty in Bangladesh.

How is Denmark supporting food and agriculture?

The objective of the thematic Programme on Agricultural Growth and Employment is "inclusive agricultural growth through better skills, organisation and market access". To this end, the thematic programme activities are centred around improved agricultural livelihoods, food security and nutrition as well as farmer organisation and improved market linkages, making the markets work more efficiently for the poor smallholder farmers.

Firstly, the Integrated Farm Management Component (IFMC) supports farmers to improve their productivity, food security, promote climate smart farming and link them with markets. The approach is Integrated Farm Management and Farmer Field Schools, providing the project beneficiaries with skills and tools to improve their agricultural practices, enhance their production and achieve better farm produce prices and higher household incomes.

Secondly, the Agricultural Food Security Project (AFSP), focusing on the marginalised indigenous people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), is supporting livelihood activities similar to the IFMC. However, in addition, technical assistance is provided to the local CHT government institutions, including their agricultural extension services functions. The thematic programme target groups are small, poor and landless households. The two thematic programme engagements are focusing on including women and youth in the skills development and integrate them more in the farm work and in the financial household decision making.

Thirdly, through a separate engagement, the thematic programme has extended its Integrated Farm Management/Farmer Field School activities to the Rohingya refugee hosting communities in Cox’s Bazar in southern Bangladesh. In line with the principle of the humanitarian-development nexus, the aim is to assist in transitioning from short-term refugee response/humanitarian efforts and more longer-term and durable developmental engagements that penetrates the local communities surrounding the refugee camps.