IFDC Report, Volume 19, No. 4

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This report provides an update on the work and progress of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) in implementing the Fertilizer Distribution Improvement Project-II (FDI-II) in Bangladesh. The project aimed to establish a market-driven fertilizer distribution system, resulting in efficient and cost-effective distribution. The project's accomplishments include the elimination of fertilizer subsidies and distribution support costs to the government, creating new entrepreneurial opportunities, and increasing food production and security. The report highlights key lessons learned from the project. Firstly, the Bangladeshi government was crucial in implementing policy changes to stimulate the agricultural sector. Strong political will, broad consensus, and firm commitment were necessary for successful implementation. Secondly, the project demonstrated the importance of competitive market forces in driving agricultural sector efficiencies. The reforms in the fertilizer sector created a competitive market, leading to increased fertilizer availability and reduced prices, which stimulated fertilizer use and agricultural production. Thirdly, the report emphasizes the essential role of collaboration between donors, consultants, and the government in achieving project success. The relationship between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Agriculture, and IFDC was based on trust and confidence, with the Ministry implementing fundamental policy changes recommended by IFDC. Additionally, the timely and systematic flow of information was critical in keeping stakeholders informed about changing market conditions and aiding sound decision-making. The report concludes by stressing the importance of technology transfer, commercial credit, and support for government employees during the transition to a market-oriented economy. Furthermore, it highlights the potential for replicating the successes of the IFDC project in other agricultural sectors and calls for similar initiatives to address food production challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. The proposed program involves utilizing funds to buy fertilizer, auctioning it to private dealers, and reinvesting the proceeds to develop the private sector, enhance agricultural productivity, and tackle regional food security issues.
Food production, Technology transfer, Agricultural sector, Fertilizers