Local residents learning grafting fruit trees
In 2000 HFW began work in Bangladesh. We are active in 23 villages of Kaligonji Upazila(subdistrict) in the west and Boda Upazila in the north-west, and supervise projects and implementing awareness raising activities in the capital city Dhaka. A baseline survey in both Upazilas found many problems. Many people are undernourished. The level of education and the status of women are low. Health and hygiene conditions are poor. Various projects are being run to solve these problems. Local residents participate in these projects from the planning stages. The key to putting an end to poverty and hunger is to improve agricultural methods. Because over 80% of the local residents make a living from agriculture, HFW is striving to promote organic farming and to improve the health and household economy of the people.
The Center for Organic Farming. A place for trainings and for local residents to gather and exchange ideas
After work, residents gather to discuss methods to expell ants which swarm around their organic compost
Learning to make organic compost
Most people living in Kaligonji and Boda Upazilas own little or no land. Therefore, they can have only limited family incomes derived from small-scale farming on rented land. Modern agriculture method, introduced by the government in the 1960s and spread nationwide, requires farmers to purchase chemical fertilizers, pesticides and crop seeds every year. However, repeated increase of prices for these products has raised expenses while the crop yield has remained sideways. The rising global prices added a huge burden for poor households by further increasing the expenses needed to continue farming. Additionally, environmental pollution by pesticides has become a serious problem with fish disappearing from rice paddies, soil becoming infertile and people having health problems.
HFW began operation of Centers for Organic Farming in Boda in 2005, and in Kaligonji in 2008. The centers not only provide trainings in affordable and eco-friendly organic farming practices, but also running various projects with aim to improve the nutrition of local residents and increase their income. As a first step for residents, trainings are conducted on how to make organic compost from easily obtainable, cost-free materials such as dead leaves, earthworms, cow dung, and how to make herbal pesticides. Naturally, it took courage for farmers to stop using chemical fertilizers and pesticides which they had relied on for years. By showing and letting them learn the model of organic farming at the centers, we aim to dispel their uncertainty.
Their uncertainty is also dismissed by visiting fields of other farmers already practicing these new organic farming methods, by receiving farming trainings from fellow successful farmers who previously received trainings at the centers, and by participating in discussions facilitated at the centers. The Centers for Organic Farming have become an information center for the farmers of the regions: a place to learn how to protect the lives of their families.
In Boda Upazila, the farmers of the region have formed an organic farming cooperative and hold weekly meetings at the Center for Organic Farming. Discussions at these meetings are not confined to issues related to organic farming – such as pest damage control. They also formulate requests for further trainings to HFW. However, believing it is not good to simply make requests, the farmers also voluntarily train each other. Women’s self-help group, “Women Ending Hunger” (WEH) and junior organization, “Youth Ending Hunger” (YEH) also participate in these meetings and enthusiastically learn organic farming methods. Local residents are determined to put an end to poverty and hunger in the region by helping each other, and use the center to spread this determination throughout the region.
Total number of 30 staff is working with the residents in three areas namely, Dhaka, Kaligonji and Boda counties.
HUNGER FREE WORLD
2/8, Block-F, Lalmatia, Dhaka-1207 Bangladesh