ADB, Bangladesh sign $120m loan agreement for CHT dev

NEWS DESK

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh on Wednesday signed a loan agreement for $120 million to improve access to basic services and climate resilience of remote and rural communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh.

Economic Relations Division Secretary Sharifa Khan and ADB Country Director for Bangladesh Edimon Ginting signed the agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively, read a press release.

“The Climate-Resilient Livelihood Improvement and Watershed Management in Chittagong Hill Tracts Sector Project will adopt an inclusive, holistic, and participatory approach to support sustainable and resilient community development in CHT region,” Country Director Edimon Ginting said.

“By 2031, the project is expected to increase cropping intensity by at least 50% on at least 7,500 ha of agricultural land; reduce by 50 per cent the average time taken for women from 57,000 households to fetch potable water; and reduce the average travel time along the project-supported roads by 50% for buses, cars, and trucks compared with the baseline year of 2023,” he added.

The project will cover the three hill districts of Bandarban, Khagrachari and Rangamati. It will help improve village access roads, develop water supply sources and sanitation services, install rooftop solar systems, and establish agricultural facilities. The project will also improve about 140 kilometres of rural roads with all-weather standards incorporating nature-based, climate-resilient, and safety features.

ADB’s intervention will strengthen watershed management in nine sub-watersheds, to improve resilience to climate change and mitigate risks from natural hazards. This will entail improving vegetation in watershed areas through agroforestry, building small-scale water harvesting infrastructure, promoting income-generating activities from watershed protection, and training village forest committees in watershed management skills.

In addition, the project will support sustainable land use and climate-smart agricultural practices for food security. Farmers will be provided training and support to shift climate-resilient crop varieties and to diversify into high-value vegetables, fruits, spices, and medicinal plants. They will be given training, equipment, and linkages with experts and the private sector to help them process, market, and sell their products.

The expected increase in the demand for skilled labour will be met by offering vocational and professional training courses such as carpentry, food processing, entrepreneurship, and community-based tourism and hospitality management.

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