Employment and Income
While BRAC believes that microfinance is necessary to help break the cycle of poverty, it places equal importance on micro enterprise development services to maximize the return obtained by the poor. Unlike standard business development programmes, which offer some mix of generic training and marketing services, BRAC has developed an integrated sector specific approach to enterprise development for the poor. BRAC has identified six sectors in which large numbers of low-income women can be productively engaged, at or near their homes: poultry, livestock, fisheries, sericulture, agriculture and social forestry. For each of these sectors, BRAC has developed an integrated set of services including training in improved technologies, on-going supply of technical assistance and inputs, monitoring and problem solving as needed and marketing of finished goods.

Fisheries Extension Programme
The Fisheries Extension Programme has the following two components:
a)    Pond Aquaculture: This activity now reaches 272,788 members (90% women). More than 178,020 ponds with approximately 23, 336 hectares of water area were brought under semi-intensive aquaculture practices. Training was disseminated in various aspects of pond agriculture. Aquaculture is considered a family-based activity and women usually spend about 10-15% of their total daily working time on this activity. Pond agriculture is supported with field based training, credit; essential inputs supply and regular follow-ups.
b)    Inland Open Water Fisheries Management Programme: BRAC is involved with two open water fisheries management projects of the Department of Fisheries, Government of Bangladesh. The goals of these projects are to promote a more equitable distribution of fishery benefits through ecologically sustainable use of open water fisheries

Agriculture Extension Programme
BRAC’s Agriculture Extension Programme promotes the nutritional and income status of households by increasing the agricultural production of VO members through technology transfer. The VO members who have less than 0.5 acres of land receive training, technical support, inputs and access to BRAC’s microfinance to invest in farming. BRAC’s agricultural extension activities can be broadly catagorised into two components: a) Vegetable Cultivation and b) Crop Diversification (rice, maize, wheat, cotton and sunflower cultivation). BRAC has also established a modern soil-testing laboratory. By the end of December 2006, it had tested 8,750 soil samples supplied by farmers from different locations of the country

Poultry and Livestock
In Bangladesh, approximately 70% of landless rural women are directly or indirectly involved in poultry rearing activities. This sector accounts for about 3% of the country’s GDP. BRAC’s Poultry and Livestock Programme is composed of several components: poultry and livestock extension programme, poultry farms and hatcheries, feed mills and feed analysis laboratories, a bull station and diseases diagnosis laboratories. To date, 2.11 million people have been involved in this programme. The Poultry and Livestock Extension Programme includes a) poultry and livestock extension workers b) chick rearers c) key rearers d) cage rearers e) broiler rearers f) egg collectors g) model cow rearers and h) model goat rearers i) beef fatteners j) fodder cultivations and k) artificial inseminators. BRAC started its Livestock Programme in 1983 to protect livestock from disease by developing skilled-level para-veterinaries and improving local cattle breeds by providing credit and appropriate technical support. These measures are expected to increase the productivity of the livestock sector, and provide a steady source of income for the landless. The government has taken up BRAC’s livestock development model for widespread implementation. The objectives of the programme are to provide women an entry point to income and employment opportunities through training, input supply and technical support in poultry and livestock activities to improve their socio-economic situation

Social Forestry Programme
BRAC’s nursery programme organizes its VO members, who are given training, to establish village nurseries on 7-10 decimals of land to supply good quality seedlings to the local markets. They operate village nurseries and produce 5000-10000 seedlings annually. BRAC has also established 17 large nurseries spread all over the country for research, conservation of germplasm and production of quality seedlings to meet Bangladesh’s demands. BRAC has established 8,095 smaller nurseries at the village level, which produced and distributed 15.5 million seedlings in 2006 and a cumulative 416.7 million seedlings all over the country to date.
BRAC also works to increase the awareness of people to plant more trees. BRAC established a number of fruit orchards to increase the fruit production in the country. BRAC’s agroforestry activities aim to bring about ecological and socio-economic improvements in rural Bangladesh. The agroforestry activities are implemented on degraded private and government lands. The purpose of the activity is to produce wood, fuel, fodder, food, fruit and vegetable form the same plot so that income is maintained through the short, medium and long terms

Sericulture is a labour intensive agro-industry. It has the potential to link rural producers with urban markets, and provides an opportunity for the transfer of money from the urban rich to the rural poor. BRAC’s purpose in promoting sericulture is to provide income-generating activities for poor, landless women. The main components of BRAC’s Sericulture Programme are: a) mulberry cultivation b) silkworm seed production c) silkworm rearing and cocoon production d) silk reeling and spinning e) weaving and f) marketing. At present, BRAC operates 11 silk seed production centres, 6 sericulture resource centres and 3 reeling centres. In addition, BRAC is putting emphasis on the development of sericulture by increasing mulberry bush cultivation in the northan districts of Bangladesh and 2,209 acres of mulberry bush plantation was achieved in these areas by the end of 2006. This programme has also engaged 7,537 silkworm rearers, 1,872 chawki rearers and 7,513 charka spinners