In her visit to Bangladesh from March 4-10, Heifer International President and CEO Surita Sandosham reaffirmed Heifer International’s commitment to improving smallholder women farmers’ production, household decision-making power and income.
During her visit, Sandosham met with Heifer-supported women farmers and farmer-producer organizations, who are working to bolster food security and transform the region’s agricultural sector.
“Around the world, and especially in Bangladesh, women farmers face significant obstacles to accessing the tools, inputs and markets necessary to achieve socioeconomic empowerment and earn a sustainable income,” said Sandosham after a visit to the rural region of Rajshahi.
“That’s why Heifer International is fully committed to supporting women farmers in Bangladesh harness agriculture to build prosperous livelihoods. This effort to end global hunger and poverty is not possible without their full economic empowerment.”
Heifer International formally began work in Bangladesh in 2012, implementing projects with the government and local NGO partners.
To date, Heifer Bangladesh has supported more than 39,750 farming families improve their production across beef, dairy and goat value chains.
Trainings for women farmers provided by Heifer focus on climate-smart agricultural practices, including the use of drought-resistant seeds and integrated pest management, and reduce farmers’ vulnerability to climate change.
“Women farmers are key to agricultural economics and sustainable development in Bangladesh,” said senior vice president of Asia programs Mahendra Lohani, amid an internal Asia Strategy conference on locally-led development, held during Sandosham’s visit.
“Heifer will continue to work closely with small-scale women farmers to better understand their unique challenges and implement strategic agro ecological practices. Our goal is to support women farmers so they can help themselves, their families, the environment and each other.”
Sandosham’s commitment comes in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, a global celebration of women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements.
As well as Bangladesh, Heifer International works with women farmers in Asia, Africa and the Americas, including the United States, to reduce poverty, promote sustainable agricultural livelihoods and alleviating food insecurity.
Through strategic public-private-producer partnerships, Heifer aims to lift 10 million farmers out of poverty and to a sustainable living income by 2030.