Published:  12:57 AM, 16 June 2019

ABAK project infuses momentum into fight against rural poverty

ABAK project infuses momentum into fight against rural poverty

'Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar', one of the ten priority initiatives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, designed to bringing country's poverty rate zero, has got momentum after refreshing the project as 'Amar Bari Amar Khamar ' aimed at attaining SDGs by 2030.

The present government renamed the Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar' project as 'Amar Bari Amar Khamar ' after assuming office in January this year with a view to making the rural people, particularly poor, self-dependent and bringing them to the mainstream of development, reports BSS.

Officials said around 13 lakh household farms have so far been established across the country under the Amar Bari Amar Khamar (ABAK) project which envisaged reaching the figure to 20 lakh by June 2020."The government has converted the project to alleviate poverty as part of its plan to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through fund mobilization and farming," said ABAK Project Director Akber Hossain.In line with the key objectives of the project, ABAK has been playing a vital role in making the poor self-reliant, he said.

Over 2.15 crore poor and extreme-poor across the country are getting benefits from the project, he noted.Akber said around 97 thousand Village Development Associations (VDAs) have already been formed across the country benefitting about 43.16 lakh families.

The government has a plan to form over one lakh VDAs by June 2020 and bring over 2.73 crore poor of 54.60 lakh families under the beneficiary scheme.The beneficiaries of the project have deposited over Taka 1580.39 crore till April 21, 2019 and the government has provided Taka 1,380.14 crore to the project, he said.

Through the project, Akber Hossain said, the government is assisting capital formation of the poor families, sharpening their skills through training and motivation.The project also allows the beneficiaries to work together for taking decisions independently, develop their need based small family farms and find market of their products. Members of the VDAs are self-reliant and capable to run their businesses independently, he added.

The ABAK project director said the government is giving special focus on women as a VDA is formed with 60 members out of which 40 are women. Under the project, he said, each member of VDA saves Taka 200 per month and the government gives each of them an equal amount as bonus. All the money has been deposited to the bank account of VDA.After getting fund from the respective VDA, a member of each poor family develops small farms like fishery, livestock, poultry, nursery and vegetable gardening.

Under the project steps were taken to bring every inch of land of the low incoming families to cultivation, he said.After making an income from their farms, members of each VDA make repayment of their loans in installment to the account of the VDA. Thus the fund is being revolved and utilized for poverty alleviation.The ABAK director said they are considering increase the amount of credit facilities maximum Taka one lakh from the existing Taka 50,000 in the next year.

Currently, the government, through the ABAK project, is disbursing maximum Taka 50,000 as loan among the rural people to initiate small livestock farms, he said."We have a plan to make the figure double from the next year as the existing amount is not enough for improving current living standard of the poor families," he added.

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