Friday, 30 September, 2022

Slum dwellers become self-reliant by cultivating organic vegetables

Slum dwellers become self-reliant by cultivating organic vegetables

RAJSHAHI: Many slum dwellers have become self-reliant by cultivating organic vegetables in Rajshahi city.

With this venture, the poverty-prone people are seen becoming social contributors after meeting their own needs for the last couple of years, reports BSS.

Shah Alam, a resident of Boharampur slum, has been cultivating safe vegetables, including bottle gourd, bean, lady’s finger and green chili, in five carets for the last two years and become successful in this field.

He distributes his vegetables among his fellow people after meeting his own family needs. “I also earn money through selling the harvested vegetables frequently,” said Alam, a driver by profession.

“Organic farming is not only safe but also very profitable. If the weather is favorable and no natural disaster takes place, I can reap double profit from what I invest in growing vegetables,” he explained.

He is one of a handful of cultivators in the slum areas using organic methods and has become one of the most successful vegetable farmers.

He is earning money through selling varieties of vegetables, including red amaranth, spinach, bottle gourd and Indian spinach at present. With full support from his wife and children, he is growing chemical-free organic vegetables.

“I’ve learnt about the importance of biofertiliser, seed conservation and seed exchange,” he said.

He has also learnt about proper and sustainable use of homestead lands and roof top of his thatched house to protect its productivity.

Golapi Begum, another resident of Namo Bhadra slum, said they benefited enormously after cultivating both winter and summer vegetables by adopting modern methods almost round the year.

“I cultivated bottle gourd, cucumber, and coriander this year, and I got expected production,” she said, adding they are getting green, fresh and safe vegetables regularly protecting them from various diseases caused by malnutrition.

Begum said, “We have been producing chemical-free vegetables, using organic fertiliser. We are also selling some vegetables in the local market after meeting the family’s demand.”

Inspired, many other fellow people have expressed their interest in producing chemical-free vegetables by using organic methods.

In a choked voice, she stated that her previous life wasn’t pleasant and she struggled to enhance her family income.

To get rid of poverty, she started growing vegetables on her homestead side by side rearing poultry and goats.

Currently, she can fulfill the nutrition demand of her family members with chemical-free vegetables from her own garden and milk, and meat from domestic animals.

Quoting the slum census in 2014, Shahidul Islam, Regional Coordinator of Bangladesh Resource Centre for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK), said there are around 104 big and small slums with 39,077 people in the city.

Talking to the agency, he said the people are landless and marginalised and live in government lands, adding they are motivating and inspiring them to become self-reliant through vegetable farming.

After getting technical support, the farmers are seen using different types of organic and bio-fertilisers and pesticides instead of the conventional chemical ones.

Around 50 families have so far been brought under the process of vegetable farming in caret method.

Shahidul Islam said organic vegetables have more demand in the marketplace and are being sold at higher prices than vegetables cultivated using chemical fertilisers and pesticides. The beneficiary farmers are seen achieving superb success in organic farming.