DHAKA, Dec. 19 (NsNewsWire) — The government of Bangladesh today signed a $500 million financing agreement with the World Bank to improve livestock and dairy production as well as provide better market access to 2 million household farmers and small and medium-scale agro-entrepreneurs.
The Livestock and Dairy Development Project will help stimulate private sector investment and sustainable, development of livestock value chains in Bangladesh. It will help address the country’s current shortages in eggs, dairy, and meat production.
By 2021, the country will likely face annual shortages of 1.5 billion eggs and nearly 6 million tons of milk. By enhancing the availability of dairy, egg and meat products, the project will help improve nutrition for citizens, especially children, pregnant women, and new mothers.
“Through improving market linkages and ensuring good practices, Bangladesh can increase livestock production significantly,” said Dandan Chen, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. “Growth in livestock productivity potentially leads to growth in jobs for women, youth, and other vulnerable groups.”
The project will help small-scale livestock farmers—half of whom are women—adopt improved agricultural technologies. It will support basic livestock infrastructure, including processing and marketing as well as value change development. It will help the government strengthen the coverage of livestock insurance aimed at protecting the assets and livelihoods of the small and medium producers.
In Bangladesh, climate change affects livestock production. The project will promote climate resilent and emission-saving practices in the sector and will address issues related to food safety, environmental pollution, anti-micribial resistance and animal welfare. The project will directly contribute to the national climate change policies and commitments.
“The government recognizes the importance of livestock in its National Livestock Development Policy and in the 7th Five-Year Plan,” said Monowar Ahmed, Secretary, Economic Relations Division, Government of Bangladesh. “The project will contribute to achieving the government’s plan to substantially increase livestock production to feed the growing population.”
The agreement was signed by Monowar Ahmed and Dandan Chen on behalf of the government of Bangladesh and the World Bank, respectively, at the Economic Relations Division.
The credit is from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period, and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent and an interest of 1.25 percent. The World Bank was among the first development partners to support Bangladesh following its independence. Since then the World Bank has committed over $30 billion, mostly in grants and interest-free credits to Bangladesh. Bangladesh currently has the largest IDA program totaling $12.4 billion.