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, Bangladesh government considers the char region as pocket of poverty and the 7th 5-year plan of the government emphasises poverty eradication in such locations. These chars have huge potential for livestock rearing and crop production, however, char households lack access to quality agro-inputs, production knowledge, information, market linkage, financial and other services. The constraints result in lower productivity and quality which leads to lower income. Limited income and opportunities hinder formation of substantial livelihoods capital (financial, physical, human, social and natural) of char households, which is essential to cope with the vulnerable context (economic, physical, social, political and natural) of the chars.

bogra, Bangladesch
Project duration
2012 - 2024
Financed by
  • Embassy of Switzerland in Bangladesh
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
  • Government of Bangladesh, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives

The project

Chars have the potential of becoming a prominent production zone of Bangladesh but the underperforming market system lacks private and public investments. The broader aim of M4C is thus to make private and public actors realize the potential so that they invest in the region as well as provide services leading to enhancement of economic performance of the poor char households.

To realize this goal, the project’s Theory of Change (ToC) follows mainly two major activity sets where one activity stream focuses on facilitating private businesses/ public agencies to expand customer and producer base, improve quality  and/or introduce products and services in chars integrating cross-cutting themes (WEE, governance, CSPM, DRR) and the other activity stream focuses on supporting a relevant public institution to capitalise and anchor char relevant data/experiences (private sector strategies, business models, advocacy). Thus, the major stakeholders of the project are multiple agricultural companies, micro-finance institutions and public sector organizations operating in Bangladesh. 

Char households are the target beneficiaries of this project. Project’s internal assessments and donors’ independent review has validated that char HHs are investing income to intensify/extensify/diversify farm businesses and are continuing to improve their economic performance. This has been largely possible since char HHs are accessing quality agro-inputs, information, markets and financial services.

Important Links

Project partner

  • Rural development Academy (RDA), Bogra


Expected results and impact

  • Net additional increase in income of CHF 14.5 million for 75,000 char households.
  • Increase of financial, social and physical capitals of char farming households leading to an increase in natural and human capitals
  • Economic empowerment and vulnerability reduction of women evidenced by changes in women’s income, access to opportunities and resources, women’s role, decision-making, balanced workload, asset and savings formation and income diversification.
  • 100,000 Char households in previous and new target locations use better services to improve and diversify their economic activities and 75% of the households using the services will benefit.
  • 700 national and local service providers expand services on the chars and promote 35 innovative services related to aggregation, ICT, energy, health, etc. among the char households.
  • With the facilitation from CDRC (Cambodia Development Resource Institute) at least 4 Public and private sector actors undertake and/or invest in char-focused initiatives and public and private sector induce favorable policies as well as increase investment in infrastructure and market mechanisms for the chars.
Project Journey and Key Achievements 2012 - 2019
M4C (Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars) aims to reduce poverty and vulnerability of northern char households, by facilitating market systems for enhancing opportunities of income generation. M4C is mandated by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of Bangladesh. 


Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Seminar Reveals New Outlook on Char Agri-Input Market, Unveiling Promising Opportunities
The recent event, "Unveiling Potential in the Char: Agro Input Opportunities," showcased the remarkable strides made by the Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma, and Teesta Chars (M4C) project. Held at the Utshab Banquet Hall, Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel, Dhaka, on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, this gathering marked a positive change in the agro-input sector of the char regions of Bangladesh.
Entrepreneurial ecosystems, Sustainable agriculture
International Disaster Risk Reduction Day: Building a resilient future through ensuring equality
Promoting resilience and equality on International Disaster Risk Reduction Day through BMMDP and M4C project, funded by the Embassy of Switzerland and implemented by Swisscontact Bangladesh.
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
Roundtable Discussion: Position of Char in Economic Policies
Stakeholders gathered in Dhaka to discuss the pivotal role of the Char region in Bangladesh's economic future, emphasizing its transformative potential through renewable energy and holistic development.