Bangladesh: Local organisation Jago Nari supports farmers during COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented economic challenges globally. For a country like Bangladesh, the challenges have been detrimental.
When the country went into lockdown at the end of March 2020, many families were apprehensive about how they would earn a living. Although the government responded quickly by introducing economic stimulus packages, and support for vulnerable and low-income families, it wasn't enough to meet all of the need.
Those left behind
One group that was initially left without adequate support were marginal farmers, who make up more than 75% of the country’s total farmer population. When the nationwide lockdown became enforced, these farmers (who either own less than 1.5 acres of land or work in other’s lands) became cut off from the market.
After a harvest, produce is transported to a nearby market or bazaar, where it is sold to wholesalers. It is then sold to local retailers, who then sell it onto consumers. Of course, this process relies on the availability of transportation. During the lockdown, a ban on public transport meant this entire value chain was disrupted, leaving the farmers unable to sell their valuable produce.
A simple solution
Through Start Fund Bangladesh, a local organisation called Jago Nari was awarded £48,574 to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in the coastal regions of Barguna and Barisal. When discussing the interventions with community members, the distress of these marginal farmers was clear. A quick analysis of the problem brought about a simple but effective solution to the problem.
- Determine the amount of produce to be sold through door-to-door surveys
- Rent and disinfecr transport vehicles to ensure produce reached the nearby market
- Sell produce to wholesalers in the market
- Register the amount sold and revenue earned
- Ensure the revenue got back to the farmers
A successful intervention
Through their response, Jago Nari successfully supported 48 marginalized vegetable farmers. By simply renting and disinfecting vehicles, they were able to transport 17.5 tonnes of vegetables in seven days, generating BDT 100,800 (around £1,000) for farmers who would have otherwise made no income at all.
More widely, Jago Nari directly reached more than 700 households with the funding from Start Fund Bangladesh, providing vital support for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. The implementing member also reached more than 40,000 community members through multiple risk-communication interventions.
Start Fund Bangladesh is a £10m rapid emergency response fund that was created in 2017 with support from UK Aid. Modelled on the Start Network’s successful Start Fund, which activates funding within 72 hours of a crisis alert, it fills a crucial gap in global aid funding. The fund is accessible to both national and international member NGOs operating in Bangladesh to respond early to under the radar emergencies.