CLP is ‘making markets work for the poor’, Char Business Centres and partnerships key

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CLP’s field activities finish at the end of February 2016. With this in mind, the Markets and Livelihoods Unit organised two workshops on the 1st and 2nd February which aimed to improve chances of its Chars Business Centres (CBCs) sustaining post-CLP.

Following a ‘making markets work for the poor’ approach, seventy CBCs were established by CLP across 8 districts to tackle systemic constraints faced by livestock producers on the chars e.g. limited access to markets, finance, technical knowledge and essential inputs such as feed, fodder seed, livestock medicine and vaccines. CBC membership includes a range of market actors such as livestock producers, buyers and input service providers. They’re proving to be a success, for example by increasing access to finance for milk and meat producers.

CBC representatives and market actors came together at both workshops to share information and seek business opportunities and partnerships. The events were very well attended with representation from the Government including the Department of Livestock Services, the Department of Agriculture Extension, the Department of Cooperatives, the Rural Development Academy and the Bangladesh Bank. Private sector actors included United Finance Limited (UFL), BRAC, PRAN, Milk Vita, Novartis, Ispahani, ACI, and Bengal Meat.

CLP and partners already working with CBCs are extremely optimistic that CBCs will develop mutually beneficial partnerships with the public and private sector. Md. Abu Bakar Siddiq, Head of Rural Business at UFL, illustrated his organisation’s level of interest in working with the CBCs:

“We have been providing finance to the char farmers since 2012. In the beginning we started with a small target and took this as a challenge, as it was very difficult to bring financial support to the chars where most of the people are illiterate and don’t have valid documents needed for any kind of formal contracts and procedures. But now we have a long-term plan for this area and we will invest around BDT 4,000 million during the post-CLP period.  The partnership started during the CLP, but it will be continue beyond the Programme.”

To learn more about CLP’s efforts to develop markets for the chars, please visit http://bit.ly/CLP-M4P

To read more about what CLP did to promote sustainability of CBCs, please visit http://bit.ly/CLP-CBC