The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh signed a loan agreement on Wednesday for $120 million to improve access to basic services and climate resilience in remote and rural communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh.
The loan will help improve village access roads, develop water supply sources and sanitation services, install rooftop solar systems, and establish agricultural facilities in the three hill districts of Bandarban, Khagrachari, and Rangamati. The project will improve about 140 kilometers of rural roads with all-weather standards incorporating nature-based, climate-resilient, and safety features.
Economic Relations Secretary Sharifa Khan and Edimon Ginting, ADB Country Director for Bangladesh, signed the agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively.
“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 the CHT region,” said Country Director Edimon Ginting. “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% 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″
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, 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.