“Now I grow chemical-free vegetables and fish all year round, sell them, and feed my family. I no longer have to be worried about earning a living.”
Hasina Begum, 50, of Gabura Union under Shatkhira district, was like any other farmer trying to eke out an existence for her family; she dreamt of giving her children an education and other opportunities that she herself was deprived of. But farming is a challenge in Gabura – a remote village in Bangladesh’s southwestern coast, which is frequently prone to natural disasters that cause spikes in salinity levels. Fishing and crop cultivation were virtually impossible – a harsh reality Hasina faced when she tried growing vegetables on their tiny parcel of land.
All too aware that she had very little knowledge about correct farming techniques, Hasina heard about SAJIDA’s Climate Change and Disaster Management (CCDM) training program on climate-resilient farming systems. She learnt about the effectiveness of Nature-Based Solutions (NbS) for disaster-risk reduction and eco-friendly development. Her patience, perseverance and student-like approach in applying what she learnt finally bore fruit. She got a good crop and vegetable yield, which was the confidence boost she needed to forge ahead.
“Farming is my only source of income so I’ve always wanted to learn how to do it in the right way. With NbS, I can engage in crop cultivation and fish farming all year round without using harmful fertilizers. I dig dykes and use manure on my crops,” says Hasina. She is leading by example: inspired by her success, many of her neigbours have opted to embrace the concept of organic farming and all its potential. She says, “Nothing makes me happier”. Furthermore, her usage of organic fertilizer, completely free of chemicals, has given her produce a competitive edge over her peers.
In short, since making the switch to organic agriculture, Hasina has not looked back. Armed with the knowledge she acquired from SAJIDA’s CCDM team, she has seen positive results in terms of both crop yield and diversity. She now dares to dream.