Category Archives: Poverty Eradication

Bangladesh’s per capita income rises to $848

Bangladesh’s per capita income rises to $848
Rejaul Karim Byron

Bangladesh’s per capita income went up to $848 in the current fiscal year from $816 last year, but is still way short of the $1,006 needed to pull the country up to the middle-income bracket.

The nation aims to reach the middle income country category by 2021, according to government’s perspective plan.

The required per capita income at that time would be $1,300, meaning a growth rate of 7-5 percent to 8 percent is needed every fiscal year, said Zahid Hussain, senior economist of the World Bank.

Bangladesh managed a growth rate of 6.3 percent against a target of 7 percent this fiscal year, according to provisional data from Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).

The previous year the growth rate was 6.71 percent, signifying the country went backwards with respect to its target of graduating to a middle income country status.

AWD irrigation system saves Tk 5000 in paddy cultivation on one hectare

AWD irrigation system saves Tk 5000 in paddy cultivation on one hectare

DHAKA, June 5 (BSS)- Irrigation Experts said that Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) irrigation system applied in 91 upazilas in the country this year saved about Taka 5,000 in paddy cultivation on per hectare of land.

The National Agriculture Technology Project (NATP) under Agriculture Ministry is applying the AWD irrigation system following a survey revealed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), they said.

“It’s a good news that the AWD irrigation system applied in 91 upzilas of the country in the fiscal 2011-12 has saved a substantial amount of irrigation cost involved in paddy cultivation on one hectare of land, said Director of NATP Nurul Islam.

He said the amount is more than double the IRRI estimated irrigation cost saving of Taka 1,765 three years back and more upazilas of the country would be brought under NATP to apply AWD irrigation in the coming years.

Sources in NATP said the IRRI has developed a technology able to save up to 30 per cent of water use in the production of rice without compromising yields.

Called AWD for Alternate Wetting and Drying, this intermittent irrigation technology is the result of an international partnership of China, the Philippines and Bangladesh, through the Irrigated Rice Research Consortium (IRRC), they said adding financed by the SDC since 1997, IRRC facilitates cross-country learning and diffusion of new rice production technologies in Asia.

The AWD technology is being applied in paddy cultivation since fiscal 2008-2009 after getting a go ahead signal from IRRI.

The IRRI survey revealed that the cost savings in paddy cultivation is Taka 1,765 in per hectare. It (IRRI) showed that an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 litres of water is required to produce one kilogram of rice.

Nurul Islam said the AWD technology was applied in 91 upazilas of the country for paddy cultivation in the fiscal 2011- 12. The result showed that on an average irrigation cost savings stood at Taka 5,000 in per hectare of land, which is more than double of the IRRI estimated cost.

NATP director said the AWD irrigation system saved 32 per cent water on an average in one hectare of land in paddy cultivation while it (AWD) saved power cost by about 30 per cent and production increased to 1.6 metric tonnes per hectare.

The IRRI research has proven that introduction of AWD irrigation could save water in paddy cultivation about 15-30 per cent which would ultimately save cultivation cost by at least Taka 1,765 per hectare of land.

Describing the process of cultivation, Head of Agriculture Engineering Department Dr. Asgar Ali said starting from about 15 days after transplanting, the irrigation would have to continue until the water table goes 20 cm below the ground level.

Digging of a 20 cm deep hole in the rice field and installing a perforated plastic pipe to monitor the level of the water table are required in each irrigation field, said Dr. Asgar.

He said the practice should continue until flowering starts and keeps 2-4 cm standing water from flowering to dough stage. The savings of irrigation water will have impact on environment. This may also reduce arsenic contamination in rice grain and straw, Asgar Ali said.

Vegetable farming changes rural economy

Vegetable farming changes rural economy
Green revolution brought in 20 villages in Jajira upazila under Shariatpur
Author / Source : BSS

SHARIATPUR, Dec 25:  Farmers in 20 villages in Jajira upazila under Shariatpur district have brought enormous changes to their socioeconomic status through vegetable farming in the current Robi season. They achieved economic self-reliance by cultivating different kinds of winter vegetables like brinjal, tomato, bean, spinach, red leafy, bitter gourd, bottle gourd and pumpkin in their villages that brought revolution to rural economy. Economic success by cultivating these types of vegetables has brought smile on the faces of the people who earlier used to maintain their life in severe economic hardship.

According to district agriculture department, farmers have cultivated vegetables on 2500 hectares of land in the 20 villages in the upazila this year in which employment opportunities have been created of over 7,000 framers.

The farmers expected that they would earn over Taka 2 crore this season as bumper production of these vegetables has been witnessed in the villages due to availability of fertilizer, high-yielding variety of seeds and irrigation.

“We have achieved bumper production of vegetables this year as a result of smooth supply of fertilizer and water as well,” said farmer Joynal Haque Molla of Laukhola village recently.

Talking to BSS, agriculture officer of Jajira Upazila Dr Delwar Hossain Majumder said the vegetable cultivation in the villages has opened up a new horizon in the history of the country’s vegetable farming as soil of this district is very fertile for cultivate such crops.

The farmers have brought a revolution in vegetable farming in the district which may be an example for the people of other areas, he added.

The villages where vegetable cultivation brought socioeconomic development of the farmers are Gajnipur, Joysagar, Kawadi, Laukhola, Royerkandi, Mulna, Dhonboalia, Nagarboyalia, Chhabispara, Taltala, Joynagar, Gangaprasad, Luxmikantapur, Charshimulia, Khoratala, Cablenagar, Chardupuria, Dubuldia, Dubisaybor, Mirasar and Gopalpur.

BD scores better in human dev than other S Asian nations: Amartya

BD scores better in human dev than other S Asian nations: Amartya

NEW DELHI, Dec 17 (agencies): Bangladesh, along with Nepal and Bhutan, has scored better than other South Asian countries in areas of human development.

Nobel Laureate and noted economist Amartya Sen said on Friday, while addressing Delhi Economics Conclave organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), that India’s track record of dealing with the human development issues is worse than neighbours like Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.

Prof Sen expressed his views at the Economics Conclave in favour of balanced liberalisation and economic reforms.

“I do not think that there is any conflict in liberalisation …. Each time you have to see if it is doing good for the people or not,” he said.

Laying stress on economic reforms, he said they were not just about doing enough to address issues which were of great importance to those who relatively prospered. The formula that worked only for 20 per cent of the people of the country is not right, he added.

Commenting on the challenges being faced by the government of India at present, he said :”In a democracy, you have to carry the party, the coalition and the political system, including the opposition with you”.

“The tragedy is that not only China, but even Bangladesh is now doing better on almost every one of these social indicators than India is doing …. Every country Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are ahead already,” Professor Sen said.

“We (India) need to maintain economic growth as growth generates public revenue and with public revenue we need to do things such as health care, immunisation, education…the government has to do a lot more,” he added.

Professor Sen said that among the six South Asian countries, India has slipped to fifth position from second in 1990 on parameters like education, life expectancy, immunisation, maternal mortality, etc.

Only Pakistan is below India on human development index, he said, adding that “because…(it has) its own problems connected to terrorism”.

India has higher percentage of child under-nourishment than any other country in the world, even in Africa, Prof. Sen added.

Solar units changing power scene in char areas of N-districts

Solar units changing power scene in char areas of N-districts
Our Correspondent

RANGPUR, Dec 11: Introduction of solar power in the rural areas of Rangpur, Kurigram and Lalmonirhat districts has ushered in a new hope for the people as electricity supply is not adequate in these areas. As the Rural Electrification Board cannot supply electricity to the ‘Char’ areas, people of these areas are becoming interested in using solar power.

About 8,000 solar power units have brought about a revolutionary change in the lifestyle and economy of more than 40,000 people of 300 inaccessible char villages of the districts, villagers and NGO officials said. According to sources, several NGOs including RDRS, BRAC, Grameen Shakti, Protyasha and Aspect with the help of Infrastructure Development Company Ltd. (IDCOL) have so far set up the solar power units at a cost of Tk. 12000 to Tk 40,000 per unit on cash or down payment. They provided necessary equipment and technical assistance for solar power generation. The people of Char Nazirdah, Pallimari, Chatra, Monneya, Majirah in Kounia upazilas under Rangpur district said they have changed their lifestyle by using solar power.

People of Hatia, Bazar, Baraburi, Gunaigachh, Char Santosbiram and Kamar Damarhat Char villages in Ulipur Upazila under Kurigram district are now using 100 solar units provided by BRAC and other NGOs on easy installments.

Char people of 50 more villages under Sadar, Aditmari, Kaligonj and Hatibandha upazilas of Lalmonirhat district have also changed their lifestyle through utilizing the facilities of solar power plants in groups from Protyasha, BRAC and Aspect. Solar power users expressed their satisfaction over the continuous supply of power by using solar technology. Some said sellers usually give them 15 years guarantee.

Other users said the village people who earlier did not have a single road for plying a rickshaw are now regularly enjoying Television programmes with the help of solar power.

Local people said the demand for solar power is increasing at adjacent char villages and called for setting up of higher capacity solar power units.

80,000 ultra poor women lifted out of extreme poverty: VGDUP

80,000 ultra poor women lifted out of extreme poverty: VGDUP

DHAKA, Dec 11 (BSS) – A donor-funded development project today claimed to have brought smile on the faces of some 80,000 ultra poor women in less than three years in the country’s southwestern part, thanks to a generous grant of 202 euros per woman from the European Union.

Endorsed by both the government and the donor, the implementers of the Vulnerable Group Development for Ultra Poor (VGDUP) project said they have been able to bring substantial improvement to hunger and dire poverty to the poorest women and their dependants, who now eat minimum of two meals a day and earn higher incomes.

“I myself travelled to several project areas including Sirajganj and saw that a large number of ultra poor women have increased their incomes and strengthened their livelihoods, while moving towards self-reliance with VGDUP support,” State Minister Dr Shirin Sharmin Choudhury said at the formal winding up of the programme in the city.

Shirin Sharmin said the women and their dependants were now consuming a minimum of two to three meals a day and could avail eggs, fish and meat in a week in their diets under an improved food security condition. She said the government would pursue identical projects in future, one of which is now under scrutiny of the ECNEC.

Project Director of VGDUP Dr Mohammad Ali said the initiative was launched in January 2009 amid high food price globally, in order to lift the poorest of the poor women from the bottom of poverty, empower them with income generating activities, and help them get access to food and nutrition.

Each of the 80,000 women received a direct cash benefit of Taka 19,000 or equivalent to 202 euros throughout the 33 months of project operation and result was amazing in true sense, added Wyn Davies, technical assistance team leader of the project.

Dr Ali said the VGDUP is the fourth consecutive social safety net and vulnerable group development programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the Department of Women Affairs (DWA), with technical assistance from German GFA Consulting Group.

Beneficiaries of the project from Kurigram, Nilphamari, Mymensingh and Netrakona delivered appealing description of the benefit of the VGDUP and said the (little) support they received has made a big difference to their lives.

“I used to pretend to my children of cooking food in empty bowl until they fell asleep in hungry stomachs. Now I can provide them at least some food every day,” said Shefali Begum, 30, of Kishoreganj upazila of Nilphamari district. Echoing her other colleagues, she said, “We are still poor but not the same that we saw for decades.”

Head of European Delegation Ambassador, Willam Hanna, who also attended the programme, said the EU delegation has been trying to support those who really need the help in developing economies. He said “I am very happy that with only a modest support package (Euro 200 per woman) these ultra poor women were able to significantly improve their livelihoods.”

The ambassador hinted that a new policy of EU might increase investment in social sectors in Bangladesh, but said European taxpayers were keen to see their tax money was spent for right causes and for the right people in need.

Meeting sources said after success from all four projects – FADEP-1, IFADEP-1 Bridging, FSVGD and VGDUP – the government is set to continue the fifth project in Chapainawabganj, Natore and Naogaon districts from early next year.

The new project titled “Food and Livelihood Security (FLS)” would focus on 50,000 ultra poor women and 30,000 marginal farmers in three districts at an investment of 24.8 million euros.

Kakonhat pourasava achieving cent per cent sanitation

Kakonhat pourasava achieving cent per cent sanitation

RAJSHAHI, Dec 5 (BSS): Kakonhat Pourasava under Godagari Upazila of the district is afoot to attain cent percent sanitation and safe drinking water with spontaneous community participation.

Remote and underdeveloped Kakonhat pourasava has established 11 community latrines in all its public places under the good practice program. It has been operating those successfully. In addition to the poor and marginal groups, non- resident people use the latrines free of cost.

Based on public recommendation and opinion, a need-oriented vision has been adopted in order to build the pourasava as green, clean, self- reliance and enlighten by 2015.

The major activities, scheduled to be implemented under the vision, included plantation of barind-friendly trees, ensuring safe drinking water, strategic uses of groundwater, restriction of open place stools and urinary emission, removal of unhygienic

latrine, smoke-free cooking, website and service delivery through own information center.

Pourasava Mayor Abdul Mazid revealed these while addressing a media briefing session at his office organized by Press Institute of Bangladesh under its Media Exposure of Good Practice of Pourasava program on Sunday last.

Besides the officials and staffs of the pourasava, large number of local people and leaders of influence were present on the occasion.

The Mayor said the 20.05 squire-kilometer area pourasava had been established in 2002 and its present population is 22,395 and 3318 households including significant numbers of disadvantaged aboriginals.

Despite of its location at remote high barind land and development- deprived area the pourasava is committed towards quality service delivery together with expediting the civic amenities gradually. As a result, it has been upgraded into B category from C within only seven years, Abdul Mazid informed.

He told the journalists that the good practices of the pourasava were detected through various indicators and said establishment and proper functioning of the 11 community latrines is the major outcome.

He, however, said achievement of cent percent sanitation is very difficult in such type of drought-prone area where crises of water is very acute especially during the dry season.

Uninterrupted water supply is the precondition to attain the total success he emphasized the need for best uses of the surface water.

Abdul Mazid put emphasis on groundwater recharging through enriching the surface water resources through necessary excavation and re- excavation of the derelict ponds and canals.