I am Purnima Rai. My father was a fisherman. I was the youngest among my seven siblings. At the age of 14, I got married to a fisherman family. In my husband’s family poverty and need were a regular issue. Sometimes they could eat rice and sometimes they had to starve. They have no property except their homestead area. Once I thought about cultivating vegetables, like: red amaranth, bottle gourd leaf in the yard of their homestead. With this thought I started cultivating vegetables, like: gourd, beans etc. around our homestead, I tried to fulfill my family needs with the produced vegetables. Then I produced vegetables in the 1 Katha land beside my homestead. As the amount of the land was not enough profitable for vegetable cultivation, so I started contacting with the local brokers for getting more lands for cultivation. After several trying of one year, I took lease of 5 Katha land. This is how the amount of my plantation increased. As I had not enough agricultural knowledge, so I was not getting enough crops. From neighbors I came to know that, it is necessary to apply fertilizer. In that year there was scarcity of fertilizer, and being a woman farmer it was not easy for me to buy fertilizer from the market. The amount of the fertilizer was less than the demand in the market, so mostly the male farmer bought fertilizers from market. So I had to return from market with empty hands. One day I was going to market to buy fertilizer and suddenly saw a man named Somir was doing something. When I went near to him I saw that he was doing something with earthworms. I saw a pot beside him where something like tea powder was there. Asking him I came to know that with earthworms, fertilizer can be made and can be sold with the rate of 5 taka per kg. It works better than chemical fertilizers and it is good for soil also. Then I thought deeply about it and discussed with my son about collecting earthworms from the land beside their homestead, but I came to know that these earthworms will not work and I need to buy these from market. Then I ran to Somir but he denied sharing the techniques. As I had no formal agricultural training, so I didn’t know how to produce organic fertilizer. Then I was determined to do something about it. By this time I got introduced with Aiyub Hossain, the farmer leader and the president of Gaidghat Agricultural Club. The block supervisor managed to arrange a training on this issue with the help of Agricultural Department. Now I am a successful organic (earthworm) fertilizer producer. I realized about the importance of organic fertilizers by producing these. I decided to teach these techniques to my neighboring women. I managed to organize them one by
one and managed to disseminate the techniques I learned from the training. We created an internal organization by ourselves. The number of members of this organization is 65. I encouraged the members to go to the village houses and disseminate the facts of the importance of organic fertilizers and also the negative impacts of the chemical fertilizers. Once my home was made of mud and hay but now I have tin shaded home. I earn 60-70 thousand taka per year by selling the fertilizers. I also earn 30-40 thousand taka by selling the vegetables. Now I have solvency t o some extent. I do not depend on
the earning of my fisherman husband. I arrange a meeting once in a month where we discuss about vegetable cultivation in the homestead area and we discuss how to earn more and how to become self-dependent. I foresee about the formal registration of our organization and dream to achieve the proper recognition of women farmers in our families and in the society as well.