Bangladesh has great potential for agriculture-led growth and food security. Nearly half of all Bangladeshis are employed in agriculture and a large majority of the rural population is involved in fisheries. Poverty was halved between 2000 and 2016, from approximately 49 percent to approximately 24 percent. To continue this progress, Feed the Future programs in Bangladesh aim to support inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led growth, strengthen resilience, and enhance private sector competitiveness.
In 2018, Feed the Future activities helped more than 700,000 farmers to increase their production of food, commercial crops, fish, and livestock, gain access to markets, and improve the nutrition of their families. Approximately 161,000 hectares of land were tended with improved technologies and management practices.
In collaboration with Cornell University and other partners in late 2017, Feed the Future introduced the Bt eggplant variety in northwest Bangladesh, which helped to reduce pest infestation by 95 percent and the use of toxic pesticides by 56 percent. By the 2018 harvest season, Farmers growing the Bt eggplant variety also saw a 42 percent increase in yields and a $400 increase in profits per hectare.
Empowering women benefits both households and communities and is an important source of resilience in Bangladesh. Since 2014, in areas where Feed the Future has worked with the Government of Bangladesh and local partners to increase Bangladeshi women’s access to training, technology, and childcare, more than 500,000 more women own assets, 800,000 more women have greater control over their income, and 1.2 million more women have greater input into productive decisions.
These results reflect data from the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of the Treasury (through the International Fund for Agricultural Development and Global Agriculture and Food Security Program), reported into Feed the Future’s central monitoring system for fiscal year 2018 (FY18). Impact data for poverty statistics come from a 2015 population-based survey by the International Food Policy Research Institute. Impact data for stunting statistics are derived from the 2014 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey. Impact data for women’s empowerment come from the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) for 2018. For more information on the indicators above, please view the Feed the Future Indicator Handbook. All dollar amounts are listed in U.S. dollars.
- Increase on-farm productivity and generate income
- Boost investment in targeted value chains
- Improve the nutrition of women and children
- Enhance the government’s policy and planning capacity
- Elevate the private sector’s agriculture innovation capacity
- Scale proven technologies to smallholder farmers
- Promote gender integration in agriculture and increase women’s empowerment
- Coordinate and collaborate with other U.S. Government initiatives in the country
Zones of Influence in Bangladesh
- 21 districts in the Southern Delta region
Bangladesh is the world’s most densely populated country, with 161 million people living in a land area roughly the size of Iowa. Poverty, lack of access to agricultural land, and poor eating habits contribute to some of the highest rates of undernutrition and child stunting in the world. In addition to population growth, urbanization and natural resource depletion have led to the degradation of Bangladesh’s land and bodies of water, which poses a great threat to its agriculture sector.
In Bangladesh, Feed the Future investments target areas vulnerable to water scarcity, rising sea levels, extreme shocks, and changing weather patterns to maximize impact and strengthen resilience. Consistent with the Government of Bangladesh’s priorities, Feed the Future focuses on increasing rice production while helping farmers diversify their production with higher-value, nutrient-dense commodities such as fruits and vegetables and fish.
Gender issues further complicate food insecurity and undernutrition. Women are heavily engaged in agriculture but do not have equal access to extension services or other agro-inputs like seeds and fertilizer. By collaborating with the Government of Bangladesh, Feed the Future is working to increase women’s access to agriculture and nutrition training, seeds and fertilizer, farming technology, and childcare. These efforts aim to reduce food insecurity, undernutrition, and household-level gender inequalities. For example, 88 percent of children under 5 receive vitamin A supplements twice a year through government-led campaigns. Empowering women and implementing successful nutrition projects have helped to decrease the under-5 mortality rate by more than 50 percent since 1993. Overall, poverty and child stunting have dropped in areas where Feed the Future works.
Private sector engagement is another major focus in Bangladesh. Since 2018, Feed the Future has partnered with 11 companies and supported business connections between private companies and farmers to produce crops like mung beans, maize, and sesame. Feed the Future has also unlocked long-term private sector investment worth $14.1 million. Private sector engagement efforts like these promote robust agribusiness development, which plays a critical role in diversifying and strengthening food sources as well as providing economic opportunities for Bangladeshis.
Feed the Future supports the following programs, partnerships and organizations in Bangladesh.
- Abiotic Stress Tolerant Rice and Wheat
- Accelerating Capacity for Monitoring and Evaluation (ACME)
- Agricultural Value Chains (AVC)
- Agriculture Infrastructure Development with Local Government Engineering Department
- Agriculture Mechanization and Irrigation (CSISA MI)
- Agricultural Biotechnology Partnership – Eggplant
- Agricultural Biotechnology Partnership – Potato
- Bangladesh Aquaculture and Nutrition Activity
- Borlaug Higher Education Agricultural Research and Development (BHEARD) Program
- Bangladesh Trade Facilitation Activity (BTFA)
- Bangladesh Food Safety Activity
- Feed the Future Bangladesh Nutrition Activity
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Aquaculture and Fisheries
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture
- Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management
- Global Agriculture and Food Security Program
- Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
- Improving Nutrition using Community-Based Approaches (INCA)
- Livestock Production for Improved Nutrition
- Loan Portfolio Guarantee Program
- Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Activity
- Meeting the Undernutrition Challenge (MUCH)
- National Agricultural Technology Project II
- Policy Research and Strategy Support Program for Food Security and Agricultural Development in Bangladesh (PRSSP)
- Rice and Diversified Crops (RDC)
- Risk Management for Food Security in Bangladesh – Sanitary and Phytosanitary Food Safety Project
- South Asia Biosafety Program
- Social and Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC) Activity
- USAID Food for Peace Programs
- USDA Food for Progress Programs