SCDP-PROJECT

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Bangladesh is one of the developing country with two major problems, are (i) the large population and (ii) susceptibility to environmental hazards such as cyclones, floods, droughts, arsenic groundwater contamination and seismic activity. Bangladesh is also at high risk from climate change, particularly due to its low lying position on the edge of the Bay of Bengal. Land and its cultivation is Bangladesh’s most basic resource and is the mainstay of the country’s primarily agrarian economy with over 75% of the population directly or indirectly engaged in agriculture. There is, however, regional inequality between the east and the west of the country, with the west showing a poverty incidence that is 14 percentage points higher than the east. Agriculture provides employment to 48.1% of the total labor force in the country; its staple food (rice) is consumed by virtually 100% of the population; and 28.7% of total income derives from agricultural outputs. Earnings from agricultural wages account for 28.1% of the total income of rural households, and the agricultural sector accounts for 20.88% of GDP at constant prices, a slightly lower share, compared to the other major sectors of the economy, namely industry and services. Rice is the dominant crop contributing most to self sufficiency in food grains and hence food security. However, the emphasis placed on rice production has resulted in increased dependence on imported foodstuffs, particularly fruit which remains unaffordable to many poor consumers. Therefore the increase in high value crops (HVCs). HVCs are defined as agricultural crops which will give a higher rate of return per hectare than high yielding winter (boro) rice, production, including fruits, is of critical importance in reducing imports, and enhancing affordable and varied nutritious diets for the poor. While domestic per capita production of HVCs has been increasing to meet growing demand, consumption is increasing at faster rates for crops other than rice. With an improving economic situation and consequent income growth, particularly among the growing urban middle class, the market demand for HVCs is expected to increase. HVCs production, value addition and efficient marketing are acknowledged as key drivers in meeting consumer demand, raising the incomes of poor farmers, and contributing to improved livelihoods, food security and balanced nutrition. SCDP is a ‘‘follow on” project to the Northwest Crop Diversification Project (NCDP). NCDP was funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) during 2000. SCDP will focus on those areas where NCDP has not supported in North West & South West Bangladesh.

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