Bangladesh | Rural Development and Food Security, Climate Change

In Uncertain Times, Ample Preparation for Food Production

Bangladesh is preparing for a $100 million investment in climate and disaster resilient small-scale water resources management. The Water Financing Partnership Facility, through the Netherlands Trust Fund, is supporting the preparations.

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Worried About Water. Faced with escalating flood and drought risks, farmers in Bangladesh, like this woman tilling her field, are increasing their resilience to climate change and securing food for the future.

Project

Bangladesh: Preparing the Climate and Disaster Resilient Small-Scale Water Resources Management Project

Project Cost

$1.25 million

  • ADB $500,000
  • Financing Partner
    • Netherlands Trust Fund under the Water Financing Partnership Facility $750,000

Approval Date

December 2019

Completion

June 2021

Partnership Results

From 12 subprojects, the feasibility study to be prepared will include 30 subprojects and 100 enhancement subprojects (compared to 40)
Conduct of local climate change screening of hazards and risks, detailed surveys, and outline of the water management support program

Background

Farmers in Bangladesh face escalating flood and drought risks. The country is one of the most vulnerable to climate change, and staving off the impacts, especially on livelihoods and food security, requires a concerted effort to know what needs to be done and how.

ADB is proposing a $100 million investment, the Bangladesh: Climate and Disaster Resilient Small-Scale Water Resources Management Project, which will build on a series of successful projects since 1996 that have enabled better rural water management and crop production technologies to increase productivity, improve nutrition, and safeguard rural livelihoods. Small-scale water resources pertain to a net beneficiary area of less than 1,000 hectares. The continuous investments, in cooperation with the Netherlands and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), have led to 845 subprojects throughout the country.

The Water Financing Partnership Facility (WFPF), through the Netherlands Trust Fund, is supporting the technical assistance that will prepare the proposed project. Introducing value-chain as a pilot, the project will add a crucial element for the changing times: enhancing resilience by incorporating climate proofing measures to water infrastructure and encouraging the use of climate- and disaster-tolerant crops and cropping practices. The $750,000 technical assistance grant from the Netherlands Trust Fund will enhance the development and integration of climate and disaster resilient measures and value chain aspects into the project design.

Bangladesh’s low-lying location, lack of control over the flows of transboundary rivers, and high-density population make it especially susceptible to the effects of climate change. More and prolonged extreme weather events affect water availability and quality, and damage farmers’ yield. Given that 80% of the population live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related nonfarm activities, the concern is huge.

Interventions

WFPF funding has allowed the technical assistance to increase the number of subprojects to be covered by the project. From 12 subprojects, the feasibility study to be prepared will include 30 subprojects and 100 enhancement subprojects (compared to 40 without WFPF support). In particular, the WFPF funds will enable the technical assistance to do local climate change screening of hazards and risks, undertake more detailed surveys, and prepare an outline of the water management support program. The latter will consider infrastructure, agriculture, environment, operations and maintenance, gender, social, and climate and disaster resilience aspects.

These assessments and plans will replicate the wins of the previous related projects in Bangladesh, such as the successful formation of and support for water management cooperative associations (WMCAs). These WMCAs foster ownership and participation among the communities to manage water resources and to help increase agricultural production. They include landowners, land operators, women, fishers, and other vulnerable groups. The WMCAs will also be given support for other income-generating activities and to develop and implement a robust agricultural value chain, including investing in postharvest management infrastructure (processing and storage facilities, pack houses, etc.). This farm-to-market portion of food production can be critical, and so ensuring access is secure and with minimal risks is essential.

Results

Subject to the outcome of the feasibility study, the proposed project, which is scheduled for ADB Board approval by second quarter of 2021, is expected to help about 95 districts. It will improve living conditions in the area, minimize the impacts of floods and droughts, and increase people’s incomes.

The improvements on the irrigation distribution and drainage systems will cover 60,500 hectares and benefit about 287,600 people, while the postharvest management infrastructure will benefit about 215,700 people.

Flood embankments and water control structures will protect farms and communities covering about 242,000 hectares and benefit about 1.15 million people. Best of all, by preparing for climate risks, the agricultural production is expected to increase on 302,500 hectares and benefit about 1.4 million people.