Women Chapter. My two daughters Ankhi and Meem are out to school. They are wearing scintillating white school dress. Their bags are hanging on their back. Water bottle, Tiffin box, notebooks, textbooks are inside their backpack. People on the roads of our village talk about us they think how our past was and how we are now! This is called fortune. They are the girls of Herbal Home now.
Name of the Farmer : Naznin Aktar Nipa
Spouse Name : Ayub Ali Haldar
Area of Cultivable Land : 10 katha
Grown Crops : gourd, pumpkin, okra and tomato etc.
Area : Katianangla, Khulna
Supporting Organization : LoCOS
My home in the Katianangla village of Batiaghata upazila in Khulna district is known as Herbal House. I am Naznin Aktar Nipa. Though my father was poor but he ensured my education up to HSC level and I got married with Ayub Ali Haldar of Katianangla village. It was seven years ago, our family was troubled with poverty. My poor husband’s unfortunate family had only a straw shaded hut along with the land of homestead and two bighas of cultivable land was all of our wealth and two school-going daughters Ankhi and Meem.
We did not have much earning as our homestead and other land was uncultivated. Then our daughter Ankhi was in class four and Meem was in class one. The luxury of schoolbag was a far from imagination, it was hard to manage their books and other stationeries. I was intensely thinking to change this descending condition of poverty. But my husband had no job and our mendicancy was not ending. In 2007 I started planting herbal plants in my yard one after another. Then I started participating in various meetings of rural women from `LOCOS’ an NGO.
In 2010, me and my husband attended a training on awareness of herbal gardening and vegetable farming in homestead area. After training we acquired 10 katha of land and started cultivation of gourd, pumpkin, okra and tomato in organic process. At the same time to make the herbal garden an income source we increased the search of collecting different types of herbal plants from many distant places. Day by day our income got better. We kept spending a part of our income to advance the herbal garden.
Next year we earned 70 thousand taka from vegetable farming and 40 thousand taka from eco-friendly fisheries (Fish farming in paddy field) in 1 bigha land. With that money after expenditure for family and our daughter’s education with the remaining money we initially planted some rare kinds of herbal plant in 25 decimal land in front of our home. But in summer time we found some trouble for irrigation. Observing our condition “LOKOS” allowed us a grant of 5000 taka and my husband Ayub Ali Haldar set off a deep tube-well in the yard of our home with the help of Local Health Engineering department. That protected our treasured herbal garden. Now I and my husband have 1180 plants of 800 herbal species in our 100 decimal homestead land. Now our house is filled with the greenery of many different herbal plants.
My husband do the treatment of many diseases with these plants leaves, root and rind, and he sells plants, fruits, rind and leaves to other people as well. It earns 10 to 15 thousand taka per month. Now my family is dependent on the income of herbal plants.
In 2014, I and my husband took assistance from Botiaghata Agricultural Expansion office and planted 85 foliage of plum tree. We are the trend setter of commercial plum cultivation in Botiaghata upazila. Now our flourishing plum orchard is easily eye-catching. My family is getting well-off day by day. We have erected a brick-made house in place of our hut. Our dream is to see our two daughters Ankhi and Meem will accomplish a higher degree from University in Environmental science and Agricultural science.
We will work for farmers of all villages across Batiaghata upazila along with Katianangla and teach them vegetable farming, herbal plantation, paddy and fish cultivation in organic process and will stand beside the poverty-stricken people to enhance their life and livelihood condition. Our effort and initiatives can be followed to ensure food-security and life and livelihood enhancement of farmers all across the rural spectrum in Bangladesh.