The Story of a Successful Man in Changing Fortune
In Previous/Past Situation
Satkhira district is located on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in the south of Bangladesh. In this district, various disasters have calmed the endangered people. Large cyclones like Sidar, Aila, Amphan swept over the district. The people living in these coastal areas are at high risk of all these major disasters. The hardworking people of this area are constantly working hard to make a living. Their lives depend on the daily work involved. Due to the lack of employment of some people, there is always a shortage in the family.
Baptist Aid-BBCF's Resilience to Reduce Risk (R-3) project has been implementing activities in 6 working areas of Satkhira district to solve these problems.
Hatbas village of 05 no.Tentulia Union in Tala upazila of Satkhira district was damaged at different times by various natural calamities. There is no limit to the suffering of low-income people. The sources of livelihood are wasted. As a result, people in the area have no idea about alternative income and are relying on the same profession. The people of the area are in debt in order to meet their daily needs.
Md. Ahad Ali Sardar. Father's name is Md. Nur Ali Sardar. A small businessman by profession. He lives in Hatbas village of Tentulia union of Tala upazila in a family of 6 members including father, mother, wife, 1 son and 1 daughter. In addition to the grocery store, he makes a living by raising chickens on his farm. Currently the whole family is dependent on him. But his wife helps him with his small business.He said there was a time when his family was very poor. He used to buy and sell a small grocery store on the side of the road. He got into more trouble by taking loans from various lenders. He could not make progress in his family as he had no idea about alternative income. He continues to look for any business alternative. Many well-known businessmen and established people in the area have not benefited from the advice.
A Big Smile for Zinnat Khan & His Friends
Most of the rural people are involved in agricultural work in Kolaroa upazila of R3 project area. They cultivate paddy, jute, wheat, vegetables and many other food grains in their land. Although they get sufficient water for cultivation in the land from rain during the rainy season, they face water crisis in dry season. So, all the farmers were still depending on fuel-based irrigation pump in summer season. But poor farmers couldn’t install fuel-based irrigation pump because it’s very costly. As a result, they had to deal a contract with the pump owner for water irrigation and in exchange had to provide paddy, jute, wheat and money to the pump owner. This system sometimes caused a great loss for the farmers. The more the water supply, the more is the high irrigation cost. As the high cost of water pump, sometimes it hampers the production process and the farmer doesn’t get expected crop from the cultivation. As a result, they had to compromise with the loss and compelled to keep mortgage their cultivable land to the money lenders. It needs around 5,000/- to 6,000/- Taka per irrigation to produce one crop in a season. Besides, due to fuel burning it produces much smokes which on the other hand pollute the air and water which is also harmful for the community people.
So far this was a common situation of the vulnerable farmers of Kolaroa. The son of late Shamser Ali Khan, Md. Zinnat Khan is one of the vulnerable farmers living in Shakdaha village of Kushodanga union under Kolaroa upazilla. He is a small entrepreneur and his monthly income comes around 6,000/- to 7,000/- taka to look after his family. He has two sons. Zinnat is an active member of CBDRC (Community Based Disaster Resilience Center) committee and his son is also a member of youth club under this CBDRC. Zinnat has a small cultivable land of 0.6 acre sharing with other farmers in total 1.5 acre of land. Before solar pump intervention, Zinnat and his friends were facing problem to get sufficient water supply for irrigation. As a result, they had to purchase water for high cost from some other fuel-based pump owner. This made his production process very costly that he got less in rate of return over his total investment. Zinnat gave up his hope and decided to cultivate once in a year to avoid huge loss.
When the R3 project started working with the community people of Satkhira, the project was trying to understand the farmers’ situation who was struggling with water irrigation system. The project staff had a discussion with the CBDRC (Community Based Disaster Resilience Center) committee members and discovered that, Zinnat and his peer farmers are suffering from financial crisis to water their cultivable land and end of the season has to count huge loss. After a detailed discussion, the CBDRC committee decided that R3 project will finance to install irrigation Solar Panel in the field for the vulnerable farmers those who are mostly in need for irrigation support, those who are not able to purchase water pump machine and also not able to even lend money to cultivate the land. The CBDRCs committee helped the project in need assessment to select the land areas where the vulnerable farmers will be able to get the benefit to plough the land in low cost. However, this year (2019) R3 installed two solar pumps (2 horse power) in two target areas in Shakda & Shivanandakathi village under 10 no. Kushodanga Union covering approx. 3.3 acre of cultivable land which one of the 1.5-acre land owned by Zinnat and his peer farmers. However, these solar pumps will give support to approx. 35 vulnerable farmers to get irrigation benefit from those two land areas. R3 project supported in installing solar pump and the community made the house for installed solar pump. With the assistance of the project, the community also formed a committee for solar pump maintenance. The project arranged a demonstration session where the vendor company taught the farmers how to operate and use solar power pump.
Md. Zinnat is very happy to get cost effective and environment friendly solar power irrigation pump. He and his friends are using it whenever they need.
Not only Zinnat, but also other 35 farmers are now getting free water supply from Solar Pump for field cultivation even though in dry season. The farmers are now enjoying the result of installing eco-friendly solar pump, such as- they have free access of water supply for cultivation whenever they need to, they now no more don’t have to depend on fuel-based pump owner. Furthermore, these irrigation solar pumps can almost cover 3 acres of land (per solar pump can irrigate 1.5 acres of land), it can lift 400-450 liters water in an hour, it reduced almost 60% to 70% cost and is very cost-effective for the vulnerable farmers in need. Zinnat and his friends formed a group who will be responsible for taking care of the machine, keeps clean timely and will pay very less money for repairing etc. the 35-farmer said that, “we had to spend a large amount of money for irrigation. Now with the solar irrigation pump, the cost has declined into 60% to 70%. Furthermore, we can now save a good amount of money which can be spent for more production.”
With a big smile Zinnat saying that,
“Now I am cultivating paddy three times a year without any excessive irrigation cost. It changed my calculation with less production cost and made my profit with expectable rate of return over my total investment. I can now save enough money to look after my family and can invest more for production expansion. Solar Pump is really an environment and cost friendly machine for an entrepreneur like me. I will never think of giving hope in future again”
Now, Md. Zinnat is inspiring and suggesting other neighborhood farmers to use solar powered pump instead of diesel or Petrol driven water pump for irrigation.