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World Bank supports Bangladesh's agriculture sector
08
Feb '08
The World Bank approved an IDA credit of US$62.60 million to assist the Government of Bangladesh improve agricultural productivity and farm income by revitalizing the national agricultural technology system.

The National Agricultural Technology Project is designed to enhance the effectiveness of the national agricultural technology system. It will finance activities related to agricultural research, agricultural extension, and supply chain, including strengthening of national institutions involved in agricultural research and extension.

Accounting for about 22 percent of GDP, agriculture is vital to Bangladesh. Another 33 percent of GDP is contributed by the rural non-farm economy, which is largely linked to agriculture. Over the last three decades, there has been a significant increase in the production of rice to achieve near self-sufficiency in food grains.

However, this is threatened by increasing population, declining land base, and stagnating yields. Diversification into higher value crops is slow with poor post harvest management and limited processing capacity.

"Growth of the agriculture and the rural non-farm sectors is critical to reduci ng poverty In Bangladesh," said Xian Zhu, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. "Improved agricultural research and technology will be critical to achieve this growth and accelerate for the process of diversification into higher value crops and post-harvest processing."

The project will also support a decentralized demand-led agricultural extension program with greater accountability and responsiveness to farmers, with a focus on small and marginal farmers.

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