Mrs. Bibizon Begum is an owner of a homestead garden and is part of the Pathways Bangladesh program. She grows produce year round by utilizing one plot of land to produce vegetables, seedlings, and saplings through the use of improved & indigenous agricultural techniques. Mrs. Bibizon is now optimistically looking forward to expanding her production to more areas.
Mrs. Bibizon lives in the village of Suverkhuthi of Uttar Bania para of sadr Upazila in Kurigram district. She has one grandson and one granddaughter, who live with her and are in school. Before beginning her garden, she was a housewife while her husband was a day laborer and sharecropper. However, it was difficult for them to cover all the expenses of the family with only one source of income. Mrs. Bibizon began to grow rice to sell, but after she suffered large losses in a flash flood, she decided to transition to vegetable farming. Initially, she only produced vegetables in the winter in a traditional way with limited success. Then, she became involved in Pathways which has been instrumental in allowing her to enhance her livelihood and support her family.
Involvement with the Pathways Program: In August 2015, Mrs. Bibizon met Mrs. Khurshida, an employee of Pathways Bangladesh, and joined the initiative as a farmer. Soon after, she received basic training on rice and homestead gardening. Initially, she started production by introducing some improved techniques & practices (bed system lay-out, live fencing, organic practice, cropping patterns) and planting different types of winter vegetables. She received a supply of improved seed & seedlings of at least five varieties of winter and summer vegetables. As an immediate result of her involvement in Pathways, she had increased yields throughout the year from different crop varieties.
Mrs. Bibizon is now able to feed her family members with different types of vitamin-enriched vegetables in larger quantities. She has also found that selling vegetables & seedlings/saplings from homestead gardening is a sustainable way to earn income. In explaining her hopes she said, “I think my participation in the program helped some money to buy books and dress, also contribute some money for my family and also provide more for my grand-daughter for her education, health and nutrition”.
Community response: Community members have visited the vegetable garden to learn about the successes of producing vegetables throughout the year. Others have started realizing the potential of vegetable production along with sustainable agriculture techniques and many have been motivated to replicate the homestead garden in their own households. Mrs. Bibizon has become an icon of vegetable production in her community which has also placed her in a better position both socially and economically.
Future projections: Mrs. Bibizon is now planning to increase the acreage of her own land, and will also visit surrounding communities to encourage them to produce vegetables at their homesteads in the coming seasons. She has been able to create an example in her community, which has shown others that year round vegetable production is possible & profitable as well.