Shakhina Khatun (42), wife of Abul Kahsem, Purba baro veula, Cox’sbazar is a landless farmer.
She has a homestead area of 10 decimals and shared in land 60 decimals. She has a dwelling house and a cattle shed. She has a bullock and a cow shared in. She also has five ducks and 18 chickens.
There are varieties of trees in the homestead area including mango, jackfruit, blackberry, amlocki, pomelo, dewa, banana, areca nut, coconut, mahogany, teak, sesbania, sisso, banyan tree, guava, star fruit. Medicinal plants occur in abundance including catagola, tiatui, bondherosh, pripata, bashak, hobupata.
The main source of income of Shakhina Khatun is farming. She works in the farm. Her husband and sons work in the farm. They work as wage labor in other’s farms. They also go for fishing when there is enough water in the canals, beels and rice fields. She shares in a bullock and a cow.
Shakhina Khatun has no cultivable land in the field. She farms in share in land. She would not benefit from farming when she was practicing conventional agriculture. She would suffer from shortage of money for buying seed, chemical fertilizer, pesticides and other inputs. She would suffer from shortage of food and other daily needs.
Shakhina Khatun mentioned, “I was married when I was 16 years old. I was married with a poor daily wage earner. Our poverty was intensified with the increment of family members after our marriage. On many occasions we had to go to bed at night without any food along with our children. Six years ago we were enrolled as Nayakrishi farmers. We got training in Nayakrishi. We were given training on sustainable sources of livelihood. After our accession into Nayakrishi we have cattle, duck and hen. Now we make compost. We apply compost in the field for improvement of soil fertility. We save seed in our own store for next year planting. We also exchange seed with other farmers in the community and also the Seed Akhra of Nayakrishi. Now we do not need to go to the market for buying seeds. I hold seed in my own hand. Some times my husband does not know that I have so much of seeds in our storage. I give surprise gift of seed to my husband. He becomes happy and thus we have a strong family bond involving the seeds”.
They apply compost in the field and grow varieties of vegetables. They do not need to buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides from the market. They grow safe food with less cost. They grow mixed crop including cereals, vegetables, pulses and spices. They have a regular supply of essential food items from their own production. They do not need to go to the market for buying food.
They have increased production in the homestead area. They are rearing ducks and fowls. They are self contained in terms of essential commodities now. They had bad days in the past before our accession into Nayakrishi. Now they are very happy with Nayakrishi.
They grow many varieties of crops including ashail lemburo, laldhan, BR-10 of rice; mustard and rai of oil seeds; cowpea and grass pea of pulse; ginger, garlic, turmeric of spices. They grow number of vegetables including sweet gourd, water gourd, little cucumber, chili pepper okra, cucumber, potato, sweet potato, yard long bean, field bean, French bean, cabbage, cauliflower, radish, coriander, bitter gourd, red amaranth, stem amaranth, tomato, egg fruit, Indian spinach and ash gourd.
The intensity of uncultivated vegetables in the locality has increased after the introduction of Nayakrishi. The major uncultivated vegetables include water lily, ilishak, mamonishak, katamarish, nunia, khetepata, girmi tita, / gima, dongkolosh, noteshak and bothua.
The availability of medicinal plants has also encrusted significantly. The major varieties include mamuni, nunia, amrul, shushni, durbagas and hogoja.The major aquatic plants include water hyacinth, nindrali, water lily, alkher, fushkher and cheicha.
Shakhina Khatun mentioned, “Nayakrishi Seed Hut and Seed Akhra are linked with my live had livelihood. The Seed Akhra has given a new dimension to my livelihood pursuit. As a member of Krishnapur Seed Akhra I have learnt the art of collection, re-generation and conservation of seeds. Now I feel Seed Hut and Seed Akhra are very important for us.”
Shakhina Khatun mentioned, “I have established a better relation with many people in the society as a member of the Seed Akhra. Many people come to me for advice in connection with crop production and other aspects of farming. Now a days many people are interested for compost. Because the cost of chemical fertilizer has increased many times recently. Nayakrishi Seed Akhra commands a dependable source of seed supply and knowledge base”.
Shakhina Khatun mentioned that she has been benefited from the Seed Akhra and Seed Hut. Now she can plant the right variety in right time. She also practice mixed cropping, relay inter cropping in different seasons. This is because she has varieties of seeds in the seed hut. In addition she has easy access of seed stored in the Seed Akhra. On top of that the system of seed exchange in the community is now a common practice. Periodic discussion of the farmers in the Seed Akhra regarding sowing of seed of different crops is very helpful for crop production.
The farmers in the community have improved their financial condition after accession into Nayakrishi. They have not only improved their financial condition but also have learnt the sustainable art of farming. They are now used to practice biodiversity based ecological agriculture. They now live a peaceful and happy life.