Saidur Rahman is a village doctor by profession. But he was struggling to make ends meet with the money he earned by serving the people of Ramnatherbhita village in Gaibandha Sadar upazila.
Years back, to find a way out, he started growing rice on the one bigha land that he owns. After several years of incurring losses due to floods and falling prices, he tried out his luck in growing vegetables following organic methods.
Saidur hit a turning point in 2004 when he finally made some profit from the sale of Tk 16 thousand worth of vegetables. From then on, he did not have to look back.
Encouraged by the profit, he leased one more bigha of land for vegetable farming in 2006. That year he earned Tk 30 thousand from sales.
Now he grows various types of organic vegetables -- such as cauliflower, cabbage, brinjal, potato, bitter gourd, pumpkin, bean and leafy vegetables -- on seven bighas of land in total.
Recollecting his past struggles, Saidur said, “It was quite difficult to support the family with the meagre income from the village doctor profession. But now, by the grace of the Almighty, I’ve been living a much better life by growing vegetables.”
He made Tk 1.15 lakh from sales last season and with vegetable prices showing a rising trend in markets, he said he expects to sell Tk 2 lakh worth of vegetables this season.
“Chemical fertilisers and pesticides are harmful to human health. So, I use organic fertilisers and natural pesticides in my vegetable fields. There’s a good demand for vegetables grown in my garden and I’m getting a good price too.”
Thanking the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) for their training, Saidur said he also tries as much as possible to help out other interested vegetable farmers with tips and suggestions on how to grow vegetables organically.
Inspired by Saidur’s success, many others in his and neighbouring villages have started growing vegetables under organic methods.
Ramnatherbhita resident Abul Kalam said his earnings doubled after he switched from growing traditional crops to organic farming of vegetables on his one and a half bighas land.
Masudur Rahman, deputy director of DAE in Gaibandha, said the department strives to improve farming techniques through organising training programmes for farmers all throughout the year.