Bangladesh Agriculture & Food Security: Tenant farmers development programme
The farmers of Bangladesh can only benefit from all these initiatives such as research, quality seed, and technical assistance if they can purchase quality agricultural inputs such as quality seeds, fertilizers and insecticides. BRAC noticed this gap and offers farmers financial assistance.
The Bangladesh Bank, in their new monetary policy, has asked BRAC to expand agricultural credit to support the government’s effort to achieve self-sufficiency in food grains. Since financial institutions require collateral security for expanding credit, the tenant farmers do not have access to traditional agricultural loans. To reach tenant farmers, the Bangladesh Bank offered BRAC a refinancing facility of BDT 5 billion (about USD 75 million) at 5% rate of interest, to provide loans to tenant farmers at a lower interest rate than BRAC’s current microfinance programme. BRAC took the challenge, and since October 2009, has been experimenting with an innovative scheme entitled “Borga Chashi Development Project”. Under the project, BRAC is organising tenant farmers (men and women) into village organisations (VOs) and providing them with both credit and training on modern agriculture.
The project had a target to reach 300,000 tenant farmers in 150 upazilas by end of 2012. Till March 2012 4.45 billion BDT has been distributed to 284000 farmers through 12000 village organisations in 193 upazilas.