Nawab, an Innovative Farmer

Nawab Mia has set a unique example of innovative farming, bringing quality onion seeds to farmers’ doorsteps for fair prices. Faced with extreme poverty, Nawab, 28, of Shahpara village in Nilphamari Sadar upazila went to Dhaka to earn livelihood by plying rickshaw four years ago.

“Working for one year, I saved some money, returned home and leased 40 decimals of land to do farming in an innovative way,” Nawab said. “Many farmers of my village cultivate onion but they have to collect seeds from traders of other districts at high prices. Sometimes portions of the seeds do not sprout well.,“I decided to produce onion seeds here. I took foundation onions from Nasir, local representative of a seed company and Majedul Islam Biplob, local sub assistant agriculture officer of the government’s agriculture department, provided technical support for the purpose,” he said.

Nawab’s wife Morsheda Begum, 24, who also worked with her husband in the onion field, said they took loan from an NGO to manage the initial cultivation cost. It was an exciting experience as flowers bloomed and seeds developed inside onions after the plants gained maturity, Nawab said.

“In 2015, I spent Tk 40 thousand as production cost (in 40 decimals) and harvested 120 kg of onion seeds. I sold all to Nasir’s seed company at Tk 850 per kg and made a net profit of Tk 62 thousand,” he said. In 2016, he cultivated onion seeds on 60 decimals of leased land and made net profit of Tk 1.20 lakh by selling seeds in open market at Tk 1000 per kg.

This year, Nawab cultivated onion on 90 decimals of land and got net profit of Tk 1.74 lakh from open market sale. Nawab, now a solvent farmer, has already bought seven decimals of land, built two tin-shed rooms there and bought two cows, alongside arranging schooling for his two children. Local farmer Abtar Ali said now they can collect quality onion seeds from Nawab for fair price and have not faced sprouting problem in it.

With his support, now several unemployed youths have started onion seed cultivation, said Mosirat Fakir, chairman of local Tupamari union parishad.

The Daily Star, 10 May, 2017, Bangladesh