Over half of the Bangladeshi population is engaged either directly or indirectly in agriculture. In recognition of the vital role of farming to the country's development, BRAC has three special projects in microfinance designed to empower farmers and strengthen sector-wide farming practice.
Each project provides access to finance, training, productive inputs and business support, enabling farmers to set up sustainable agricultural enterprises. In doing so, they help to ensure stable livelihoods, improved health and nutrition, and lessened dependency on exported food products. The projects also promote gender equity by strongly encouraging participation from women farmers.
Over the past 12 years, BRAC's microfinance projects in agriculture have reached approximately 660,000 farmers, and have disbursed over USD 280 million. Each project achieves a loan repayment rate of 98%.
Borgachashi Unayyon Project (BCUP)
A large proportion of farmers are borgachashis - poor and landless tenant farmers who share crops with landowners in return for the right to cultivate on their land. BCUP works with borgachashis to give poor farmers the support they need to build and sustain productive enterprises.
The project takes a 'credit plus' approach that combines access to customised loans of USD 200 - 1500, savings products, and technical training. It supports ventures ranging from vegetable cultivation, livestock, duck and poultry farming, aquaculture, as well as investments in land, and agricultural machinery.
North-west Crop Diversification Project (NCDP) and Second Crop Diversification Project (SCDP)
NCDP and SCDP promote the use of high value crops, such as fruits and vegetables, to help farmers reap greater financial returns and promote better access to nutritional food products.
The two projects offer access to credit services and savings products, including loans of USD 100 - 4,000, as well as training on improved technologies, and marketing support such as linking of small farmers to markets.
NCDP is based in 10 districts in the north-west region of Bangladesh. SCDP marks the expansion of the project into another 27 districts where BRAC identified potential growth for high value crops.
BCUP, NCDP and SCDP are part of BRAC's broader strategy to develop the agriculture sector. For more information about BRAC's work in agriculture please visit Agriculture and Food Security Programme.
Research - Tenant Farmers Access to Credit and Extension Services: BRAC Tenant Farmer Development Project