From an Ordinary Farmer to a Model Farmer
Rasel Chakma is a Farmer Facilitator of Ulochara Para, Sajek Union in Bagaichari Upazilla of Rangamati District. Food shortage and extreme poverty is a common phenomenon in his area and villagers are mainly dependants on Jum cultivation. Previously, it was hard for Russel to manage expenses for education of his two children from limited farming income and even though troublesome for him to manage feed for family.
“I am expecting to get net profit around 225,000 taka this season from my vegetable garden that will contribute to changing my family economic conditions” Rasel Chakma
In 2014, Rasel was selected as a Farmer Facilitator under Agriculture and Food Security Project, jointly implemented by Rangamati Hill District Council and UNDP-CHTDF, and he had an opportunity to participate in the Season Long Learning (SLL) and Training of Trainers (ToT) on Integrated Farm Management (IFM) approach and other relevant aspects. From his first training, he acquired valuable new knowledge on how to profit from a small field and get higher production. Along those lines, he also learned how to use pesticide in a sustainable way.
After the first SLL and ToT, he formed a FFS in his community on 4 July 2014 with 10 poor and marginal farmers. Initially, farmers were not attentive to his sessions primarily due to the doubts toward the new technologies. Rasel thought, if he would practice these improved farming techniques himself, it will be easier to motivate others. He started to cultivate vegetables in his own field that brought remarkable farming income to his family. Finally, his success motivated the 10 regular FFS members along with five irregular members also following him as a successful farmer.
By applying modern techniques, Rasel cultivated different vegetable in 40 decimal land last year but this year, he’s grown 20 decimal of brinjal garden, 20 decimal potato, 20 decimal water melon, 10 decimal bitter gourd, and 20 decimal cucumbers, and 20 decimal sweet gourds and bottle gourd, approximately invested 45,000 taka. He already got 40,000 taka from brinjal garden and still expecting to get 30,000 taka more. Besides , he hopes that he will be able to earn even more from selling other vegetables.
Panel Chairman of the Sajek Union Parishad, Mr. Notun Joy Chakma, said “Mr. Rasel Chakma was an ordinary farmer in his village. After applying his new knowledge, he instantly improved his economic situation. Similar happened with others who followed his advice. I hope the whole community of Sajek follows him so that the food shortage can be ended.”