Welcome to the New Year, another year with new hope and promise. At the very beginning of this New Year, I visited Narayanganj's Dashergaon village, very famous for its agricultural heritage. The very first article of the New Year is about the success story of an entrepreneur, a businessman who has done fabulously well in farming sector. A few months back, I met Harun-ur-Rashid, a garments industry owner, who is doing rooftop farming over his industry building. Back then, he said he also has an integrated farm and that is gradually growing. I was really eager to visit his farm and met him for the second time. He started his farm out of passion for farming. He has great love for trees and nature. His farm is located beside the Shitalakkha river, where he's growing various kinds of crops, vegetables, fruits, fisheries, poultry, cattle, ducks and now raising turkeys, as well. Now, the entire farm stands on 35 bighas of land.
Large-scale businessmen have started joining agriculture sector. The commercial horizon of agriculture has expanded largely too. The reason they are investing in agriculture is they know it's most profitable. Many started agriculture out of desire, then made huge profit from it. Last year, you read about many such examples. The educated new generation is also getting interested about agri-business. Similarly, big industrialists have returned to the soil to seek love.
“I have been engaged with farming alongside business since 1982,” said Harun ur Rashid.
“I'm raising 50 goats and more than 400 turkeys here, alongside many other crops,” added Harun. He's earning pretty well from turkeys and goats.
In modern system, poultry farming, especially in Europe, is not done in closed cages. They have sheds. However, they are brought out of the shed during the day time to roam around freely in an open space. This is the main condition of poultry farming in the developed world. They are not kept captive. They are allowed to grow naturally. They spend the whole day in an open space surrounded by net. They return to the shed after sunset. There was a time when poultry farming was done in closed cages. Even now, in some places of the world, they are raised like that. However, in the developed world, it is not like that anymore. It's amazing to see that Harun is doing it the same way and his poultry chicken have grown much bigger and look fresh due to this freedom of roaming.
On this side of the farm, I could notice fruit trees and pond.
“How many ponds do you have?” I asked Harun ur Rashid.
“Five and all of those are used for commercial purpose now,” he replied.
Seeing another shed, I asked him, “What's the shed for?”
“Cows, fifty of them are there,” he said.
“I'm also rearing some following beef fattening method,” he added.
Harun-ur-Rashid also has a mango orchard which is also giving him money during the season.
In his cow farm there are ten people working. He also has the great Brahman breed, which is famous for its meat. You probably have read the article in The Daily Star I wrote about Brahman. Harun is giving all his cows natural feed, no chemicals are used.
For the last four or five years, Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute (BLRI) has been trying to develop the Brahman breed. It is an ancient breed of Indian subcontinent. Later, it went to the USA. Harun ur Rashid is getting 50 maunds of milk and also has beef breed for meat in his cowshed. Moreover, he uses organic manure as fertilizer throughout his farm area which means each and every product in his farm is grown through absolutely organic method.
“I use the cow dung for agriculture. I store them in places and leave them to dry. I don't use any chemical fertilizer,” boldly said Harun.
He has gourd, bean, arum, US breed pumpkin, grapefruit, mango, jackfruit rambutan from Thailand, banana and many more. Besides growing all these vegetables organically, he's using the most modern pheromone traps across the farm.
I have also visited his fish farm. It's big and amazing.
“Your TV programmes since the 80s are my key inspiration; you are like my Guru,” said Harun.
Harun has an amazingly diversified taste. He's also cultivating flowers. He has amazon lily, gerbera, and many more.
His huge ponds have rui, katla and many other fishes. Their size is pretty big and he has dug these five ponds over 21 bighas of land and earns Tk 22 lakh a year.
Harun's 1,500 employees at the garments industry regularly buy agro-products from his farm at a very reasonable price, which was really great to learn.
“I'm calling out the big industrialists to join in farming beside their main businesses. By doing so, they can earn additional money with their intelligence and efforts and have peace of mind as well,” says Harun ur Rashid, one of the most visionary entrepreneurs I have met thus far.
Dear readers, the opportunity of development and prosperity lies everywhere. Everyone can be productive in his/her courtyard. There are many garments industry owners like Harun-ur-Rashid in this country. However, only a few has such multipurpose farming activity. The love he has for agriculture is the ultimate peace he gets in return. And that is most important. The gift of nature always makes him grateful. I believe, following the footsteps of Harun, other industrialists will gradually get themselves involved in farming alongside any industrial trade, growing fresh fruits and vegetables, which will also play a great role in their commercial prosperity.