Making Transformational, Scalable, and Sustainable Changes in Rural Bangladesh
The Rural Enterprise for Alleviating Poverty (REAP) project was a 30-month program, implemented by Winrock International and funded by USDA, that worked in the Mymensingh, Gazipur, and Tangail Districts of rural Bangladesh. REAP improved the socio-economic and nutritional status of poor and marginal farmers by providing seed and technical assistance to increase horticulture and freshwater pond production while linking farmers to coordinated production and marketing opportunities. In partnership with two local NGOs, and in conjunction with the Department of Fisheries, the project formed 84 farmer groups and helped 2,200 families improve agro/aquaculture enterprise development and management. During the project, the value of the produced agricultural and aquaculture products was $1.15 million USD, compared to a project cost of $724,600 USD. Average income per farming family increased by 89 percent. Gains on this scale are possible in other areas of Bangladesh utilizing similar methodologies and techniques.
At this Ag Sector Council Seminar, Dan Gudahl from Winrock International outlined the success of the REAP project and discussed further approaches to sustainable agricultural development in Bangladesh.
Photo: Abdus Sattar, a farmer in rural Bangladesh, produced about 12 metric tons of cucumbers on less than a half-acre of land. Winrock International.
Dan Gudahl is a Senior Program Officer at Winrock International. Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, he currently manages a pipeline of project funding of over $32 million. This includes a USDA Food for Progress program in Pakistan that assists farmers in Balochistan province with improving field-to-market capacity; a USAID-funded rehabilitation program in six Districts of Northern Uganda that assists local governments to manage construction based projects funded by the U.S. Government; and several rural development projects in Bangladesh including a 2011 funded USDA Food for Progress follow-on project for the Rural Enterprise to Alleviate Poverty (REAP) project. Gudahl previously served as Director of Contracts for Winrock International. From 1992-2000, he was the Africa director for Heifer International. Gudahl holds a master’s degree in International Agriculture from California Polytechnic, San Luis Obispo, California and was a Peace Corps Volunteer who taught animal science at an agricultural college in the Philippines. He is married and has one daughter who is currently a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic.