Bangladesh Agro-Processors’ Association (BAPA) is a non-profit organization and included as one of the top few sectors in Bangladesh which is considered by its Govt as well. The member companies of this organisation deal with agro-processing, who are small, medium and few large one. BAPA organises its members, take steps for training its members to develop the quality of the products, packaging, diversification of products, entrepreneurship creation, etc. including other objectives. A project of grant was awarded by the EUROPEAN Union (EU) to BAPA as beneficiary under the contracting Authority, Ministry of Industries of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh under Bangladesh INSPIRED on 22 November 2013. The title of the project: ‘Strengthening the capacity of Bangladesh Agro-Processors’ Association (BAPA) to enhance competitiveness of its member SMEs involved in Agro-processing’. The overall objective of the project was to achieve sustainable business growth, increase sales and employment in Agro SMEs in Bangladesh through strengthening Bangladesh Agro Processors’ Association (BAPA). There were some activities and sub-activities in the project document to strengthen the capacity building of BAPA during 24 months from 22 November 2013 to 21 November 2015, on the basis of the budget mentioned in the project document. There were also rules & regulations required by EU to implement the activities during its period. The process of the implementation of any activity was guided and monitored by BAPA Authority, Technical Assistance Team of Bangladesh INSPIRED and the Contracting Authority, Ministry of Industries, Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh.
The implementation of the project started late on 7th April 2014 due to non receipt of EU fund (1st & 2nd instalment) and as a result, the duration of the project was extended for 4 months from 22 Nov 2015 to 21 March 2016 without additional grant in the budget. The completion of all the activities was not possible in time due to also non availability of the 2nd instalment of fund.
There were 19 sub-activities under the four activities in project document of the Grant No. ASIE/2013/333-073. We were able to complete the implementations of 18 sub-activities during the period 28 months including extended time. The total Euro 206,847 was settled in the budget to complete the implementation of all activities of which Euro 151,748 was incurred during the period. Euro 55,099 could not be spent during the period due to non availability of fund. So, the physical progress was 71 % and financial progress of the project was 73 %.
We tried to complete the implementations of all the activities and sub-activities of the project and as such applied for extension of 2 (two) more months and availability of due fund in time. But it was not possible.
We have completed setting up of project office & monitoring system, baseline study, establishment of training centre, creation a pool of 20 national resource persons, training for 99 BAPA SMEs, report for labour market information (LMI), organizing study tour, trade fair, establishing of SME front desk, development of web portal, Collaboration meeting with SME foundation, development partners, Bangladesh Women Chamber, organizing two round table meetings, organizing six regional meetings in six divisions of Bangladesh, holding discussion with BSTI and facilitate agro SMEs to get approval for product marketing, discussion with government authorities to include BAPA reps into national committees.
We were able to complete above 50% of the activities such as: printing of brochures, collecting books for library and below 50% in the documentation of success stories, training of SME front desk staff and organizing national conference to make platform for advocacy for policy support to enhance sustainable business environment for SMEs in agro food processing sector.
BAPA has gained some benefit for advancement in different ways by the EU grants. Capacity building of BAPA has been extended and the result has been quite notable in respect of its familiarization in different quarters and in different parts of the world.
After all we have established some trained people under BAPA, trainers, training modules, training centre, desktop, library and BAPA staffs and taken all together, we have widened our opportunities for working with Donor organizations.