Making Markets Work for the Chars (M4C) recently organised the third edition of the Char Sales Conference at Vinnyajagat Guesthouse and Conference Centre, Rangpur. The objective of the conference was to review the successes and learnings of M4C’s partnerships with agro-input companies (AICs). The best performing salespersons of the agro-input companies, based on achievement of sales targets during 2018-19, were also recognised. Regional sales team members and senior officials of five partner AICs, namely Auto Crop Care Limited, ACI Formulations Limited, ACI Godrej Private Limited, NAAFCO Group and Petrochem (Bangladesh) Ltd., attended and spoke at the event. Participants also shared their ideas about continuing to cater to the char markets without M4C’s support in the coming days. Md. Humayun Kabir, Sales Manager (North) of Auto Crop Care Limited, reflected on the difficulties during the early years of operating in the Chars. He further noted that the current levels of sales in the char markets are more than sufficient for agro-input companies to continue working there.
The event was chaired by Mr. S M Mahmuduzzaman, Team Leader, M4C along with Dr. Md. Abdur Rashid, Project Director, M4C and Director, CDRC, Rural Development Academy (RDA), who was present as the Chief Guest. Along with them, the Director and Executive Director of SKS Foundation and NDP, two leading microfinance institutions working in the northern chars were also present.
M4C aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the northern char dwellers and enhancing income generating opportunities by facilitating market systems development. Since 2012, M4C has partnered with seven leading AICs and facilitated them in improving the supply of quality agro-inputs and production services in the chars. This has resulted in 107,000 char households being able to access high quality agro-inputs and production services between 2012-18, which in turn has contributed to an increase in their income by BDT 990 million. The project is mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.