Supporting the development partners’ agricultural activities is imperative in any development strategy in Bangladesh because by expanding agricultural activities, the working areas will be able to become economically self-reliant. To work toward this self-reliance, PEP provides effective agricultural extension services to small and marginal farmers to help them increase their crop yields. It makes improved agricultural implements, metal storage bins, and irrigation facilities available to cultivators, but especially to the small and marginal farmers. Lastly, credit facilities need to be made available to small cultivators for vegetable cultivation and other crop diversification activities. Another one of PEP’s activities that has had a tremendous impact on the agricultural activities of both the target and non-target population are two embankments that PEP has constructed, one at NIDP and the other one at DIDP for a length of 12.5 kilometers. These two embankments now protect thousands of acres of valuable agricultural lands from the devastation of the annual floods.
Marginal and small farmers form a sizeable portion, at least 25%, of the poor families that are PEP’s main focus. They also compose the full number of families in each working area that make up the borderline poor or those just above the poverty line. As there is a great lack of horticulture development in each area and fruit and vegetable cultivation can bring much employment and excellent incomes from even small landholdings, this sector has an especially great potential to assist with poverty eradication. Likewise, women can be the main implementers, tapping their underutilized potential to supplement the income earned by men in these families because these activities are home-based ones.
In order for marginal and small farmers to successfully undertake vegetable and fruit cultivation, a package of inputs has to be provided to them. First, they require technical assistance and training to learn which land and what season is suited for which fruit and vegetable crops. The farmers must learn when to plant, how to fertilize, weed, irrigate, and control pests. Second, they require timely and sufficient amounts of credit, high quality seeds and seedlings, water, quality fertilizers and pesticides. Furthermore, PEP has invited an expert agronomist from India who has visited PEP’s working areas a number of times already and has introduced innovative agricultural practices, such as mulching, among the target families.
- Land rental 0.1 acre per year $250.00
- Raising low-lying land/earth moving $65.00
- Crop assistance for cultivating 0.2 acre $40.00
- Establish fruit tree garden $42.00
- Vegetable seeds for a kitchen garden $10.00
Current Year Goals:
- Land rental for 50 families
- Crop assistance for 250 families
- Vegetable garden seeds for 800 families