Government of Bangladesh officially initiates a new phase of M4C project

Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars (M4C) has been approved on 25th May, 2021 by the Government of Bangladesh. The project is mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Rural Development and Cooperatives Division under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives and is being implemented by Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogura and Swisscontact Bangladesh. The duration of the project is four years from January, 2021 to December, 2024 with a fund contribution of 1.8 million CHF from Government of Bangladesh and 5.5 million CHF from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

In its earlier phase, M4C has benefitted over 120,000 char households of northern Bangladesh. In this new phase, the project will cover six Districts namely Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Rangpur, Gaibandha, Jamalpur and Shariatpur and will benefit at least 75,000 char households by 2024 (comprising of 375,000 men, women and children) with an additional increased income of CHF 14.5 million.

The project will support expansion of national private agri-business network in the chars of these six districts in the country to enhance productivity and quality of agricultural production of the char households, support innovation for growth of local enterprises and facilitate public investment for the relevant infrastructural development in the Chars. This will ultimately increase financial, social, and physical capitals of char farming households leading to an increase in natural and human capitals of these households. The economic benefit will also contribute to developing empowerment level and reducing vulnerability of char women.

Besides private companies, the Char Development Research Centre (CDRC), a specialised centre of Rural Development Academy (RDA) of GOB, will play a key role to engage with public and private stakeholders to increase their footprint in extreme poverty pockets in the char regions of these districts. In previous phase, as a result of the support of M4C, CDRC has developed a better understanding of the role that the private businesses can play in creating lasting economic development opportunities for the char dwellers and the facilitating role a public agency can play in this process.