COX’S BAZAR – The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and Marina Tabassum Architects (MTA) are proud to inaugurate a new aggregation centre where farmers bring their produce for processing, storage and to meet and negotiate prices with buyers in Montoliya, Teknaf Upazila, Cox’s Bazar district.
The centre, designed by internationally renowned architect Marina Tabassum, uses an innovative bamboo structure and integrates sustainable design elements, including passive cooling, energy efficient design and the use of renewable materials. It will also serve as a community space and training centre, with electricity provided through solar panels.
“Built through a collaborative process that prioritized the needs of the community, this new aggregation centre is part of our commitment to bring an environmental and community focus to the structures we build in Cox’s Bazar,” said Richard Ragan, WFP’s Representative in Bangladesh. “We’re grateful for our collaboration with Marina Tabassum, who artfully integrates these values in her work,” Ragan added.
At the aggregation centres, farmers in the host community of Cox’s Bazar find a reliable space to sell their produce and thus improve their incomes – including by supplying fresh, locally produced foods to the Rohingya refugee camps. Each centre has an auto-rickshaw service that helps collect and distribute the farmers’ produce every day. Since 2020, WFP has established 25 such aggregation centres in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts.
The centres, that strengthen market linkages, complement WFP’s other efforts to boost livelihoods of host community families in Cox’s Bazar, such as the Enhancing Food Security and Nutrition (EFSN) programme. The EFSN programme empowers women by providing business and entrepreneurship skills trainings as well as cash grants to help them start or expand their economic activities, like vegetable farming or poultry rearing. It currently supports more than 25,000 vulnerable women in Ukhiya, Teknaf, Moheshkhali, Pekua and Kutubdia subdistricts.
WFP’s market linkage and livelihoods programmes in the host community of Cox’s Bazar are generously supported by the governments of Canada, France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance.