The World Bank (WB) has approved $202 million in additional financing to increase the storage capacity of Bangladesh’s national strategic grain reserves by 535,500 tonnes for 4.5 million households.
The additional financing for ongoing Modern Food Storage Facilities Project came at a recent meeting of the Board of Executive Directors of the Washington-based lender, a WB release said.The project is helping Bangladesh address food insecurity in challenging times, such as frequent climate-induced disasters or crisis situations like the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The scheme is supporting the construction of eight public modern grain storage steel silo complexes for rice and wheat in eight different districts.
On top of current construction work taking place in Ashuganj, Madhupur and Mymensingh, the additional financing will support the construction of rice silos in Dhaka, Narayanganj and Barishal, and wheat silos in Chattogram and Maheshwar Pasha.
The additional financing will increase the grain reserve available to households to meet their post-disaster needs and improve the efficiency of grain storage management through an online Food Stock and Market Monitoring System (FSMMS), the WB said.
The project will also create new job opportunities, especially for women, in the operation and management of silos.
“Nearly 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s population lives in rural areas with climate shocks threatening their livelihoods, welfare, and food security,” said Mohammad Anis, Acting WB Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.“This modern food storage system, combined with an effective distribution system, will help ensure food security after a natural disaster or during a crisis such as the current COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
The project has already helped manufacture and distribute 500,000 household air- and water-tight food containers (“household silos”) to poor farmers and women-headed vulnerable households in disaster-prone coastal areas.
This success has led the government to commit to further distribute silos to an additional 300,000 households.
The project will reduce grain storage and handing losses in public storage facilities by at least 50 per cent and extend the nutritional value of grain for up to 2 years, instead of the current 6 months.
The credit from the WB’s International Development Association (IDA), which provides concessional financing, has a 30-year term, including a five-year grace period.