Honorable State Minister Pledges Support for Improving Economic Conditions in Char Regions During Visit to M4C

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Mr Swapan Bhattacharjee, MP, Honourable State Minister, Ministry of Local Govt., Rural Development & Cooperatives (LGRD), recently visited the operational areas of the Making Markets Work for the Chars (M4C) project in Gaibandha and Rangpur on 11th and 12th March 2023.

On the evening of 10th March, M4C welcomed the State Minister to Gaibandha with a dinner attended by the Country Director of Swisscontact Bangladesh, the Director-General of RDA, the Member of Parliament (and Whip), Gaibandha 2 and the representatives from Swisscontact and RDA. During the discussions, M4C highlighted the requirements of national budget allocation for chars, infrastructure needs, and potential collaborations with LGED (Local Government Engineering Department) and DAM (Department of Agricultural Marketing).

The State Minister showed a keen interest in these issues and committed to supporting M4C's efforts in improving the char regions' economic condition. He also expressed his commitment to advocating for road infrastructure to LGED and establishing at least 5 additional storage and 5 solar irrigation facilities in M4C's operational areas. Additionally, he expressed his interest in contributing to inter-ministerial coordination and influencing other relevant ministries.

During his visit to Fulchhari, Gaibandha, the State Minister visited a modern portable storage facility at Fulchari Bazar, recently built with GoB (Government of Bangladesh) funds in collaboration with a local trader. He also saw a solar irrigation facility in the adjacent char and inaugurated the M4C-Uddokta Forum Char Mela, jointly arranged by CDRC and Gaibandha Uddokta Forum and partially sponsored by M4C.

Recognition of contributions to the agricultural sector

In Rangpur, the State Minister visited Char Salapak, under the Nouhali Union of Gangachara upazila, which adopted large-scale pumpkin production and the solar irrigation system in the sandbar production system supported the scale-up of sandbar production in char lands that often go unutilised. He also participated in an FFD (Farmer Field Day), where he interacted with local farmers and acknowledged their contributions to the agriculture sector.

During his visit, the State Minister acknowledged the contributions of M4C, Swisscontact, and the Switzerland government, besides RDA and the government of Bangladesh. He interacted with local people's representatives and realised the impact generated through M4C's works in the char regions. The State Minister's visit was a great success, as it led to a commitment to improving infrastructure, establishing additional storage and solar irrigation facilities, and advocating for inter-ministerial coordination.

Following the State Minister's visit to M4C's operational area, the Prime Minister acknowledged the tremendous changes made in the northern regions in her journalist brief after the cabinet meeting on 13th March.

The State Minister's visit to M4C's operational areas in Gaibandha and Rangpur was successful. It led to commitments to improve infrastructure, establish additional storage and solar irrigation facilities, and advocate for inter-ministerial coordination. The State Minister also acknowledged the contributions of M4C, Swisscontact, and the Switzerland Government, besides RDA and the GoB. The visit was an excellent opportunity to showcase the impact generated through M4C's activities in the char regions and engage with local stakeholders.

Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars (M4C)
To reduce vulnerability and increase wellbeing of vulnerable and marginalised char dwellers living in the northern char region of Bangladesh. Chars are riverine land, susceptible to erosion and soil deposition, which remain disconnected from mainland either seasonally or throughout the year. Due to this unique geographical positioning,...