The Charlands Livelihoods Programme (CLP) is a seven year programme (2004-2011) funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), and sponsored by the Rural Development and Cooperatives Division of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. CLP aims to improve the livelihood security of the poorest char dwellers in the flood-affected Jamuna River basin, and works in the districts of Kurigram, Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Bogra and Sirajganj. The CLP focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on island chars which are surrounded by water throughout the year. It implements its projects through local NGOs, also known as Implementing Organizations (IMO), to foster market linkages with the private sector.
The programme has four main components: a) infrastructure development; b) livelihoods; c) enterprise development; and d) social development. The enterprise development component promotes private sector linkages and commercially sustainable services related to key productive agricultural, livestock, fishery and non-farm sectors. It also builds human resource capacity, improves agricultural input supplies, production and processing technologies, and creates non-farm investment and employment opportunities.
In April 2006 the Market Development Fund (MDF) was launched to strengthen the capacity of the IMOs in market development approaches, and attract project proposals in key productive and service sectors. In this context, the Milk Marketing Programme in Isolated Remote Areas (MMPIRA) was developed by Gram Unnayan Karma (GUK), one of the IMOs collaborating with CLP. Dairy cow and other cattle rearing is an attractive activity for the poor families in chars areas due to availability of space and pasture. Char dwellers raise their own cattle and/or raise cattle on behalf of people from mainland areas on a profit-sharing basis. Several factors deter the expansion of the dairy business: lack of reliable animal health services, lack of access to markets resulting in low milk prices, and lack
of regular feed supply. The low level of development of market services is due to remoteness of the char areas, poor communications (river and land) and reluctance of service providers to work there.