Savar's retired worker Sherajul Islam has never had it so good. In his late fifties, he took a brave initiative to start something new and chose duck farming which later became a real boon to many families in the area.
Sherajul, 56, of Borochrondail village in Dhamrai upazila, outside the capital, retired from the job of caretaker at a refuelling station in 2014. Soon, anxiety engulfed him as he was the only bread-winner of his family which include his wife and a 16-year-old college going son, Habibullah.
One morning, Sherajul went to a local market to buy some eggs and noticed that the price of duck eggs was almost two times higher than that of chicken eggs.
“Nowadays, ducks and its eggs are gaining popularity among people for its nutrition value and taste. This could be a great start-up business for me, I thought to myself,” Sherajul told this correspondent.
“I did not have any professional training in raising ducks. But, I stared studying the farming process. I also visited some commercial duck farms in Netrakona, a large duck raising area in the country,” he added.
It took Sherajul almost three months and some Tk 2.5 lakh to set up the farm. He also had to borrow some money to arrange for the start-up investment.
He first took lease on 75 decimals of land near his house from a neighbour. And on January 1, 2015, he bought 1,000 ducklings at a cheaper price (Tk 40,000) from Naogaon Livestock Office.
Initially, Sherajul faced several problems due to a lack of proper knowledge. Half of the ducklings that he bought were male and some of the ducklings even died of different diseases.
The retired person also had to spend more in the beginning as he was buying readymade duck food from local market. But, his son Habibullah searched on YouTube and found the process of preparing duck food at home. This is how, Sherajul started saving Tk 10,000 per month on the cost of duck food.
Seven months later, in August, 2015, Sherajul made the first profit, which was Tk 35,000, by selling duck eggs to the wholesalers in local market.
“At present, I have over 1,000 ducks in my farm and I get some 7,000 eggs every day. I sell eggs for Tk 44 per hali (four pieces) to wholesalers,” said Sherajul.
In June 2017, Sherajul rented a shop beside Dhaka-Aricha highway in Dhamri Thana Stand area where Habibullah sell eggs now, said the proud entrepreneur, adding, “On an average, I make a profit of Tk 90,000 every month from egg sales.”
Sherajul soon became an inspiration for other inhabitants. Many unemployed youths started duck farming following in his footsteps.
Shabed Ali is such a young entrepreneur. He returned from Saudi Arabia in 2015 and started driving covered van but it did not suit him.
“Meanwhile, I heard of Sherajul Vai's (brother) farm. I visited that and decided to set up my own farm,” said Shabed, adding, “In my journey, Sherajul Vai (brother) helped me a lot with his suggestions. I also contacted the upazila livestock office to know about the vaccination system.”
Shabed now has over 500 ducks and get 300 eggs per day but the number of eggs will stand at 400 in future, he hoped.
Some seven months after starting the farm in March 2015, Shabed saw the first profit of Tk 38,000.
At present, some 15 families are raising ducks and earning money by selling their eggs and meat in Dhamrai.
Dr Saidur Rahman, upazila livestock officer of Dhamri, said, “Sherajul has practical knowledge and we consider his establishment as a model duck farm. Whenever a new entrepreneur comes to us, we advise them to first visit Sherajul's farm and discuss with him before starting own business.”