Bogura’s production of organic fertilizers Tk273cr sows the seeds of ‘agro revolution’

Major companies, including ACI, buy organic fertilizers from producers in Bogura and sell them under their own brands and packaging

Suraiya Farhana Reshma sees herself as part of an “agricultural revolution” sweeping through Bogura that aims to replace chemical fertilizers with organic alternatives.

She now earns Tk2.5 lakh per month by producing organic fertilizers on her farm using earthworms and manure. The company, which employs fifteen people, has transformed its economic situation and made it an advocate for environmental conservation.

Her vision and hard work have also earned her several national awards. From a humble background, her net worth now exceeds Tk2 crore.

She promotes the slogan of maintaining ecological balance and has already trained about 700 people in organic fertilizer production in the district.

“Hundreds of unemployed men and women are turning to organic fertilizer production. Public-private initiatives and assistance have also increased. We plan to create large-scale pesticide-free agricultural areas in the future,” Reshma told TBS.

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bogura, at least 1.83 lakh tonnes of organic fertilizers worth over Rs 273 crore are produced annually in the district. The price of one kg of organic fertilizer is around Tk 15.

Major companies, including ACI, buy organic fertilizers from producers in Bogura and sell them under their own brands and packaging.

NGOs that train entrepreneurs

Organic fertilizer entrepreneurs in Bogura and nearby districts also receive training from private organizations such as Gram Unnayan Karma (Village Development Works).

This NGO has trained 30 entrepreneurs in the commercial production of organic fertilizers. They produce and sell at least 1,551 tons of compost every month. According to sources, they sell organic fertilizer worth Tk11.6 crore annually, collecting manure from 7,000 local farmers.

The project is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and the Danish International Development Agency. In Bogura alone, approximately 22,670 farmers use the fertilizers produced through the project.

Dr. Md Mahbub Alam, senior director of Gram Unnyan Karma, told TBS: “The use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has left crops, milk and meat full of toxins. They have long-term adverse effects on our health. For this reason, together with government agencies, we work with farmers to produce safe vegetables, fish and meat.”

One of the farmers involved in the project, Zainab Khatun from Sherpur Upazila, has been growing vegetables on a large plot of land using organic fertilizers. She said, “Organic fertilizers are our only way to produce poison-free vegetables. People now want to live in a healthy way.”

Rashedul Islam from Shialkol area of ​​Sirajganj started producing organic fertilizers after training from various government and private organizations. His farm produces at least 50 tons of organic fertilizer per month. ACI buys most of these fertilizers, and local farmers also buy and use them. He plans to increase production to 150 to 200 tons per month next year.

Rashedul Islam further mentioned that entrepreneurs sell their manufactured fertilizers through their own Facebook pages, through major traders and directly to farmers.

Entrepreneurs say the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) is helping them with training, financial assistance and setting up machinery and compost plants.

Officials at PKSF say 352 commercial factories for organic fertilizer production will be established in the country, of which 174 are already in production. These factories collectively sell approximately 5,000 tons of fertilizer per month and have created employment for hundreds of people.

Dr. Nomita Halder, Managing Director of PKSF, said: “We are working to improve the quality of life by supporting those involved in safe food production. For this purpose, various materials and technologies are made available to entrepreneurs.”

Farmers prefer organic fertilizers

Farmers in the area are increasingly using organic fertilizers because they are cost-effective and produce better yields.

Afzal Hossain, a farmer from Shajahanpur upazila, has been using organic fertilizers for a long time. He says: “Vegetable plants become more vibrant and stronger with this fertilizer. The soil condition also remains good. Organic fertilizers cost half as much as artificial fertilizers. The yield is also higher.”

Shubhagat Bagchi, deputy director of Bogura Rural Development Academy, stated that yields increase by 25% to 30% with organic fertilizers compared to chemical fertilizers.

A few years ago, he was involved in research on the impact of organic fertilizers in Bogura, Naogaon, Gaibandha, Jaipurhat and Sirajganj.

“Organic fertilizers are very beneficial for the soil. Our research also shows that once farmers use organic fertilizers, they no longer have to rely on chemical fertilizers. The trend of using organic fertilizers has increased among farmers,” he says.

Agricultural scientists emphasize several benefits of using organic fertilizers, including improved air movement in the soil, better water retention, maintaining proper temperatures and improved soil structure.

Dr. Rahedul Islam Rahi, associate professor at the Department of Geography and Environment at Pabna University of Science and Technology, said production of organic fertilizers from cow dung reduces methane production. “Its use improves soil quality, reduces farmers’ production costs and creates a way to obtain safe food,” he explained. ***