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Biofertilizer: An entrepreneurial exploration

I dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur when I got admitted to the undergraduate level at the University of Rajshahi

Currently, I am undergoing my master’s studies in Horticulture at Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. My farm is located in Mirpur, Kushtia, in the South-Western zone of Bangladesh. The journey of my Entrepreneurship started in 2016. I wanted to become an entrepreneur since childhood. One of my grandfathers completed his graduation from Bangladesh Agricultural University. He became an entrepreneur by doing poultry farming. Seeing his success in poultry farming, I dreamt of becoming an agri-entrepreneur from my childhood.

During my undergraduate program, I resided in a hall of the University of Rajshahi. When the hall cleaning operative would not come over the weekend (Friday and Saturday), the waste produced a bad smell. This odour was irritating to the hall residents. So, one day an idea crossed into my mind. I thought that I could recycle these waste materials. I started to develop my innovative approach. Finally, I came up with three thoughts: i) Producing compost, ii) Making neem pesticide/ bio-pesticide and iii) Recycling polythene. 

I have started executing my plans at first by preparing compost at my farm premises in that year. I collected all types of wastage like kitchen wastage, excess and spoiled food, dust, etc. up to one month. Then I watered that when necessary and after some days I rearrange the compile. And within five months, it resulted in a valuable compost. After sometimes, I focused on biogas production and polythene recycling.

Our main problem is the excess use of chemical pesticides, which is the main culprit for our health-hazard. So, I decided to produce a pure neem pesticide. While preparing neem pesticide, I use neem leaf and many other bitter-tasting leaves and also garlic extract as ingredients. Farmers are quite satisfied by applying my produced neem pesticide.

Polythene is a big issue for every country. So, I planned to recycle it. I have aimed to produce ethylene which will be used as plant growth hormone in crop field. It is currently at the trial stage. I have not commercialized its production yet. But I am working hard to establish my idea.

My knowledge of agriculture became an asset as I am an agriculturist. After the initial trial, I decided to produce it commercially. I went to the municipality of Kushtia and met with the Mayor. I shared my idea with him, he liked my proposal and helped me to send all perishable wastage at my farm. I thank the Mayor for contributing to the success of my initiative. 

Now my compost production capacity is about 10 tons per month. I am thrilled because the demand for my kitchen compost is increasing rapidly. Farmers always provide me with positive feedback. I have developed a market at Meherpur district which is near my home. I can quickly sell 100 tons per year. Farmers use these produced composts on their vegetable field mainly. They are also using at wheat, maize, betel-leaf cultivation at a large scale.  

Due to a lack of capital, I do all my work manually. Some of my relatives and neighbours discouraged me and suggested me to establish myself as a government employee. I also faced some problems convincing farmers because most of them are not interested in applying biofertilizers. Being a student, I cannot afford a permanent employee. I offer jobs to the women of my village when necessary on a short term contract basis.

The reasons why my initiative “Anumar Agro. Innovation” differs from others: 

  • To make valuable compost,
  • To recycle polythene,
  • To enrich the soil with organic matter,
  • To promote a fresh environment,
  • To create employment opportunities, especially for women and
  • To promote a healthy nation.

From inception to now, my family members help me a lot, especially my aunty, my husband, and my in-laws. My teachers from different institutions and some of my friends inspire me all the time. Everybody says it does not matter how many educational degrees a woman has gathered. She must go to the kitchen in the context of Bangladesh. I went to the kitchen but in a different way by making the house-hold waste into resources. Without education, I might not think to try to do this initiative. Education becomes valuable if we try to do something different to improve the community around us. I am quite successful now. I am doing it in my locality only, but within ten years my activity will spread among the entire nation.

I wish YPARD will support me as my family. I want to get familiar with other young professionals through YPARD so that I may get a valuable suggestion when necessary like; how do I increase my business and where I can get financial support?

My dream is to make the people of Bangladesh aware of the harmful effects of using chemical pesticides and fertilizer. I want to initiate organic farming within a few months. As a part of this plan, I will cultivate papaya and I will open a goat farm very soon.

Photo credit: Umme Habiba 

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Tuesday, 06 December 2022

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