Project Name: Increasing Famer’s Income by Introducing Safe Cultivation Method of High Value Vegetables
Project Donor: Palli Karma-Shayak Foundation (PKSF)
Duration: May 2017 to April 2020
Project Summary: Agricultural sector is the main pillar of the economy of Bangladesh providing livelihood for 70% of the population. Agriculture plays a very important role in productivity, income, and rural employment. In Bangladesh, cultivable land is about 85.05 hundred thousand hectors, among which 2.78 hundred hectors is in the vegetable sub-sector. Agricultural sector employs 47.5% of the total labor force. In 2013-2014, agricultural sector contributed 16.33% in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, while crop sub-sector alone contributed 12%.
Vegetable is an important sub-sector of agriculture in Bangladesh. Vegetable provides necessary nutrition and other micronutrient for human body. One of the main obstacles of vegetable cultivation is different types of disease and attacks of pests. Attack of diseases alone decrease vegetable production by 25%, and farmers in Bangladesh are dependent on different types of pesticides and chemicals for solving this problem. Indiscriminate use of pesticides is increasing day by day. During the period of 1997-2008, use of pesticides increased by 328.4%. Although, 80% of these pesticides are used in rice cultivation, the frequency and amount of pesticide usage is higher in vegetable cultivation in terms of cultivating per unit of land.
Insecticides are major items of pesticides which accounts total 76% of pesticides. Its usages have been increased by 598% (since when?) and, Bangladesh loses $171.43 million in importing pesticides from different countries (time span). Although, only 200 pesticide importers are registered with Bangladesh Crop Protection Association (BCPA), about 400 companies import and sell approximately 37,000 tons of pesticides annually (K. M. Atikur Rahman, and Sankar Chandra Debnath, 2015).
Usually, famers use expired pesticides irregularly and in unplanned way, which do not kill the insects, rather, increase their tolerance against pesticides. As a result, farmers have to use more pesticides to destroy insects that cause extermination of beneficial insects, and incur more financial costs. Most of the vegetables available in markets contain a high level of pesticides and chemicals, which causes different diseases to human health such as skin disease, respiratory disease, memory loss, depression, and diabetes. People incur a high cost in treatment of these diseases. Pesticides get mixed with water bodies and kill fishes in ponds and rivers reducing land fertility. All of these problems can be solved by introducing safe vegetable production (K. M. Atikur Rahman, Hortex).
Although farmers in the project area have been cultivating regular vegetables for a long time, they are not cultivating high value vegetables like, tomato, cherry, capsicum, lettuce etc. They do not have proper knowledge about different methods of modern farming such as identifying good seeds, plot preparation, applying appropriate mixture of fertilizer, planting seeds, and irrigation. Usually, they apply a higher amount of chemical fertilizer and pesticides than it is required. Despite of having knowledge about negative impact of chemical fertilizers, they cannot reduce their dependence on these as they do not have any other viable alternative. They are not aware about organic pesticides such as pheromone traps, trichoderma, and trichogramma. Most of the farmers use cow dung of their own cows as fertilizer. Farmers' dependence on chemical fertilizers can be reduced by introducing “Vermi compost” technology and by training them on using this. This method can increase land fertility and reduce production cost of vegetables.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in vegetable cultivation are directly and indirectly transmitted to human body which has serious negative consequences on our health and wellbeing. Besides, there are some vegetables which we consume directly as green, and in this case, we are consuming the chemicals directly. This even makes grass and livestock feed poisonous which again gets transmitted to our body through milk and meat. Globally, one million poisonous causalities occur resulting 2000 fatalities. Now a day, sexual and urinary diseases have spread across the world due to availability of various chemicals and pesticides in the environment. For example, sperm-count in Europe has reduced by about 50 percent and pesticides usage in Bangladesh has been causing low level of testosterone. Chemicals may cause chronic health problems that include cancers, reproductive and endocrine disruption, neurological damage and dysfunction of immune system. About one-half of the human poisonings occur in poorer, less-developed countries, even though these places account for only 20% of the world’s use of pesticides.
Project Goal: The goal of the project is to create employment and increase income of farmers by production and marketing of high value and harmful chemical free vegetables adopting modern techniques and commercial methods.
- Introducing modern agricultural production technology in vegetable subsector.
- Producing safe vegetable following good agricultural practices.
- Promoting production of high value vegetable like summer tomato, cherry tomato, broccoli, capsicum etc.
- Introducing bio fertilizers like vermi compost.
- Increasing productivity and income of the farmers, and
- Creating new employments in the vegetables subsector.