The portfolio in Bangladesh comprises three enterprises, with the most recent, Prantojon Agro, approved for support in 2018, Chetona Fish Hatchery approved in 2016 and Bolon Duck Hatchery approved in 2017.
All enterprises in the portfolio were profitable in 2018, and total revenue has increased by 15% since receiving support from EDP. Prantojon Agro has increased net profit by nearly £10,000 and the enterprise is set to receive further investment in 2019. The early success of the business shows how Oxfam is making improvements in its selection of enterprises to invest in.
Equally promising is the increase in social impact; despite a relatively young portfolio we have seen an improvement in the number of farmers reached. The EDP team is working with the enterprises to establish price-setting committees to ensure fair prices for the supplier farmers, to support on managing relationships with farmer groups and to help provide training and high-quality inputs to farmers.
We have also seen a sharp increase in the number of women farmers supplying to the enterprises. Farmer income has increased by 35% this year and is expected to continue to rise towards the 80% target for the portfolio. Wages have also seen a similar improvement, increasing by 32%.
The enterprises have faced various challenges throughout the year. Financial results have been affected by external factors. The Chetona Fish Hatchery was severely affected by heavy rains and flash floods, which had a significant impact on stock as a large volume of brood and table fish were lost. Despite this, the enterprise was able to remain profitable for the year. Nevertheless, it will be important to mitigate the risk of severe climate events in future.
Despite the increase in women’s participation, there has been no change to the number of women in leadership positions. Feedback from the EDP team in Bangladesh is that social norms within the country are preventing women from applying for more active leadership roles, instead taking a more supportive role to male farmers, who also control all household finances. You can read the factsheet for the Bangladesh portfolio here.