With World Renew support, PARI (Participatory Action for Rural Innovation Development Trust) teaches community members new agricultural practices to increase food production, so that families can both eat of and earn from the food they grow.
This past year, floods and other natural disasters made farming outdoor crops impossible. In response to this, World Renew and PARI implemented programs to help struggling families find alternative ways to farm. Some of the work involved showing people how to grow plants such as tomatoes in kitchen gardens, and loaning money to some families so that they could start duck farms and fisheries.
One farmer who benefited from the program is Kudhush Mia, who is a farmer in Northern Bangladesh. He and his wife have five children, so he must be able to grow enough food to provide for their needs. He began a kitchen garden to give his family more food options. Kudhush’s land allows him to grow rice easily, but growing vegetables has proven to be a struggle.
So Kudhush started using chemical fertilizers, hoping that they would increase his crop yields. Unfortunately, his vegetables did not improve. Chemical fertilizers can be dangerous and expensive, and even when Kudhush could afford them, he did not have the knowledge to apply them properly. As a result, most of the vegetables he produced went bad. Frustrated by the expense of the fertilizer and his poor results, Kudhush gave up on vegetable gardening.
After some time, Kudhush became a participant in a self-help group (SHG) that included agricultural training taught by PARI. They introduced Kudhush to sustainable agricultural methods and taught him about the importance of growing vegetables to maintain his family’s health and nutrition. The group members also learned about vermicomposting, natural pest management, and other methods to use in their vegetable production, which would increase the crops’ nutritional value. These methods can be easily managed at the household level, for example, by using earthworms to turn organic waste into high-quality compost. When vermicompost is added to soil, it provides nutrients to the crops and enhances the soil and drainage, resulting in healthier crops, healthier soil, and better harvests.
After the training, Kudhush decided to undertake vermicomposting himself, with the help of PARI Agricultural Field Facilitators, who taught him how to collect the worms. Before long, Kudhush had a bountiful garden full of diverse crops, including eggplant, radish, cucumber, bottle gourd, and local spinach.
Kudhush’s neighbors were also amazed to see how well his garden was doing, and how much it had grown. So he shared his new-found knowledge on vermicomposting with them and watched as they successfully used the techniques on their own farms.
Kudhush is pleased with his new skills in farming and he feels proud he could not only feed his own family but also help his community. Kudhush is grateful to World Renew and PARI for the training he received, and that his family is flourishing with enough to eat.
Now, he feeds his family fresh, nutritious vegetables, and sells the excess produce to buy protein-rich fish and eggs. This is exactly the result he had hoped for and is just what his family needed!