Asia, India, China, Russia

Bangladesh: New project will create potato processing facilities, empower women, hike income of contract farmers

The Asian Development Bank or ADB has signed a $14.2 million loan to support the expansion plans of Sylvan Agriculture Limited or SAL, a concern of PRAN-RFL Group, to enhance inclusiveness in the agribusiness sector by lifting the incomes and skills of farmers, particularly women. PRAN is one of the largest food and agribusiness companies in Bangladesh.

ADB’s assistance will finance new food processing facilities to produce potato chips, potato flakes, and pasta. Under a gender action plan, women will comprise at least half of the 450 people directly employed in the new facilities. Gender wage gaps will be reduced, women’s facilities introduced, and greater technological assistance provided to women farmers, according to a statement issued on Tuesday.

Potatoes for the new processing facilities, located in Habiganj industrial park in the northeastern part of Bangladesh, will be sourced from about 2,000 contract farmers, integrating them in a sustainable agricultural value chain, said the statement.

The project is expected to increase contract farmers’ income by at least 50 percent as they introduce new potato varieties, expand the area they cultivate, and benefit from the assurance that their products will be bought by SAL.

PRAN produces more than 200 food products under 10 different categories including juices, mineral water, carbonated beverages, bakery products, snacks, biscuits, confectionary, and dairy products. It is one of Bangladesh’s largest private employers, with around 95,000 staff. In addition, the group has engaged with more than 100,000 contract farmers across various crops.