Reconstructing the Identity of Bangladeshi Farmers
"Agriculture is the heart of Bangladesh and farmers are the gems of this agricultural economy."
With this vision in mind, OGGRO Ventures started its journey in 2007 with the aim of redefining the identity of Bangladeshi farmers. "Shifting from economics to agriculture was not out of epiphany, it was a very constructive and calculative move," says the Chairman of OGGRO Ventures, Farzeen Ferdous Alam. Even though he pursued his Bachelors in Economics from the University of Dhaka, he prefers himself to be recognised as a farmer.
The initial days of OGGRO Ventures were different. Ten years ago, a bunch of teenagers decided to hold a cleaning programme called 'Stand up, Clean up'. Starting from Dhanmondi's road 27 up to road 6/A, these enthusiastic youths dressed the long path with a clean and fresh look. With the progress of time, OGGRO Ventures started conducting several awareness building programmes in various rural areas of Bangladesh, taking the help of dedicated international aids. In the process, Alam came to a close proximity with the rural people of Bangladesh and their daily lifestyle. While reminiscing the early days of the organisation, Alam mentions that his mother, Dr. Ferdousi Begum, a researcher on Genetic Engineering, acted as a great influence. He, along with his mother, scrutinised the rural life of the farmers and understood that our agricultural sector was in a dire need of technological innovation and revolution.
Having identified the root of this discrepancy, OGGRO Ventures decided to stand beside the poor farmers. OGGRO Ventures, along with its three subsidiaries, has been providing fruitful incentives to the farmers, hoping to boost our economy. Ferdous Biotech is one of the subsidiaries that works for technological innovation regarding seeds, chemicals and production. It is the first private biotech company in Bangladesh. By using tissue culture, Ferdous Biotech is producing good quality potato seeds in its own laboratory located in Savar, Dhaka. After identifying the best quality potato, it is rapidly multiplied in the laboratory using tissue culture. This new innovation helps the farmers to get rid of the damage of vegetable propagation and degeneration. Not only this, while making plantlets of the seeds, they are made virus resistant in order to facilitate the farmers with a good yield. This is how Ferdous Biotech creates five hundred thousand plantlets in the laboratory each year. As a result, this reduces the pressure on import of seeds from other countries. Ferdous Biotech, along with producing virus resistant seeds, has signed a technical co-operation with the largest biotech company in Southern China.
The two other subsidiaries of this venture, Oggro Crops and Oggro Dairy, serve the customers with absolute transparency and authenticity. Oggro Crops buys the final product from the very farmers who initially bought seeds from Ferdous Biotech. By doing so, Oggro Crops can make the farmers profit more as the harvest produced is then exported to Nepal, Brunei, Oman and Malaysia. In addition to that, to facilitate the farmers with the best advice about production, they are provided with a 24-hour hotline service called 'Farmers' Academy'.
Oggro Dairy not only focuses on providing pure milk, but also nurtures their cows with proper maintenance. They make sure consumers' satisfaction by eliminating any chances of bacteria attack. Oggro Dairy has benefited from expert training from PUM Netherlands, a programme supported by the Government of Netherlands.
OGGRO Ventures concentrates upon the agricultural sector in order to bring a more sustainable and efficient solution to the farmers. In a resourceful country like Bangladesh, food security should not be an obstacle to enhance its economy. With this very goal, OGGRO Ventures hopes to be the biggest agricultural organisation of Bangladesh one day.