Ambassador’s Visit to AFD-funded project of promotion of agroecology practices in the Chittagong Hill Tracks
Ensuring food security for all requires us to work to both reduce poverty and address climate change and the French Government, through the French Development Agency (AFD) wants to promote Agro-Ecology in Bangladesh as way to tackle these two issues.
Consequently, the French ambassador and his wife visited the AFD-funded project of promotion of agroecology practices in the Chittagong Hill Tracks, implemented by Secours Catholique-Caritas France and Caritas Bangladesh.
The global objective of this project is to improve food security and resilience to climate change of the vulnerable population of three Chittagong Hills. It aims also to ensure that indigenous people have access to social safety and to land access system as well as to develop global cooperation around research and development of agroecology. 2300 families from indigenous communities and Bengalis are benefiting directly from this project, from which 50% are women.
In terms of mitigation, agroecology leads to very low levels of GHG emission given the absence, or minimal use, of external inputs. Moreover, agroecology stimulates local food systems which use less transport it also favor resilience and adaptation to climate change. The French Embassy and AFD visited several fields to better understand that Caritas Bangladesh encourages smallholders to use specific varieties of rice seed and other food staples which are both resistant to salinity and have a shorter crop cycles. Furthermore, as a result of not using pesticides, money is saved on inputs and a broader range of biodiversity is encouraged which, via crop diversification, helps to better tackle the issue of parasites and also provides a buttress against extreme climatic shocks and strengthens food security.
This visit highlighted that agroecology strengthens smallholders’ autonomy by strengthening their capacity to lift themselves out of poverty. It promotes quality and diversified agricultural production, embedded in a territory, its natural resources, climate, ecosystem as well as the knowledge of local populations. As such, smallholders are not forced to depend on expensive external provisions, be it inputs, seeds or even contract farming.