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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Helping farmers in the lean season

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The fifth academic paper published highlights the smartest ways to mobilize resources for government.

In northern rural Bangladesh, the autumn lean season is the most difficult time of year, especially in Rangpur, where close to half of the 15.8 million residents live below the poverty line.

The landless poor in Rangpur primarily work as day laborers on neighboring farms. But in September, while waiting for crops to mature in the fields, there is no farm work to be done. Wages fall, and at the same time, food becomes scarce because harvest is still months away, so the price of rice goes up.

The double blow of low wages and high food prices means that households are forced to miss meals and also reduce the diversity and quality of their diets. This is especially harmful for pregnant women and young children, because it can lead to poor physical and cognitive development in the long run.

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