M4C - Making Markets Work for the Jamuna, Padma and Teesta Chars


Leveraging on Switzerland’s longstanding engagement and experience in pro-poor agricultural market development, this project will benefit 75,000 poor and disadvantaged households living on riverine islands through profitable and environmentally sustainable livelihoods options. Thanks to improved access to agricultural inputs and services, access to output markets and financial services, they will generate an additional income of CHF 14.5 million to be invested into the diversification of their farm business and basic needs.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bangladesh
Employment & economic development

Industrial policy
Business support & economic inclusion
Rural development
01.07.2020 - 30.06.2024
CHF  5’700’000
Background

Approximately 2.5 million people live in the chars of Northern Bangladesh spread across 1,200 villages under 10 districts. Their main livelihood choices are subsistence farming and seasonal daily wage labor in mainland areas of the country. Char dwellers migrate several times within their lifetime due to the chars’ vulnerability to flooding and river erosion, which often cause char inhabitants to lose their assets like livestock, homestead and farming lands. The situation is further aggravated due to the geographic isolation of the chars, which results in poor access to markets and services, leading to fewer economic activities and lower productivity. The higher costs of product and service delivery, non-existent market infrastructure, limited information and understanding of market actors and investors about the economic potential in chars as well as high risks make chars unattractive for private investment and difficult for public service delivery. As a result, people living on chars are not only poor but lead an extremely vulnerable life with limited livelihood choices. While the health impact of the covid-19 pandemic is still limited due to the geographic isolation, the economic repercussions are starting to be felt as migrant workers from the chars lose their incomes and supply chains for fresh produce to the cities have been interrupted.

M4C has benefited from the expertise and networks gained by SDC and Swisscontact over the years. Thanks to its geographic orientation and focus on the most poverty-prone, isolated areas, it has done a tremendous job at targeting the extreme poor, with over a third of total phase 2 beneficiaries living on less than 1.25 USD a day. Unlike most agricultural market development projects in the country, it has gained wide recognition and appraisal from the Government of Bangladesh, who has experienced firsthand the effectiveness of the approaches deployed by the project. For this reasons, the Government of Bangladesh officially requested SDC to scale up the successful approaches of M4C.  

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • Swisscontact


Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’700’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’800’000
Project phases Phase 3 01.07.2020 - 30.06.2024   (Current phase) Phase 2 01.02.2017 - 30.06.2020   (Completed) Phase 1 01.12.2011 - 31.01.2017   (Completed)