Initiative to Cultivate Exotic and New Varieties of Crops

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In order to enable families and farmers to grow high nutrition content fruits and vegetables, 30 persons, including 20 women, were provided training on mushroom cultivation from the Mushroom Development and Extension Center at Savar. So far 1,700 Spawn packets have been distributed amongst them.

SOJAG has procured ‘Malta’ and exotic varieties of Lemon saplings from nurseries in Sylhet and have distributed those to farmers and other interested farmers. The agriculture experts and SOJAG Agriculture Consultant, based on favorable reports by relevant agriculture extension departments that Malta and other varieties of lemon would grow well in Dhamrai, has taken this initiative of introducing such a new fruit tree as Malta!

Computerization of SOJAG Micro Credit Program

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In June, 2013, DataSoft Systems Bangladesh Limited and SOJAG (Somaj-O-Jati Gathan), Dhamrai, Dhaka have signed a contract to work together to automate Microfinance business process for SOJAG. SOJAG (Somaj-O-Jati Gathan) has 14 branches in total along with Head Office. All branches and head office will be brought under “MicroFin360” services by DataSoft. With that end in view SOJAG has procured adequate number of laptops and desk top computers for its branch and head offices and DataSoft has been providing training to relevant SOJAG staff on the Micro Finance Software.

The “Microfin360” is a Micro-Finance Management Software specially developed for the Microfinance Institutes, NGO’s and Cooperative Societies to automate their work-flow. It is Microfinance Regulatory Authority (MRA) & Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) compliance solution having rich set of features, hundreds of parameterized reports, management statistical dashboard and centralized operation facility. This software features integrated Management Information System (MIS), Accounting Information System (AIS) & Human Resource (HR) modules.

Microfin360 can be called as Credit Bureau for MFIs that serves

  • Unique borrower identification.
  • Product risk management
  • Overlapping identification
  • Platform independent operation to feed multiple data source from the MFIs

The Lucky One!

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Nasir is one of the lucky ones to be alive. But his story was so amazing that belied reason and logic! He said he was on the 8th floor and as the building started to shake he was so driven by panic that he just jumped out the window from the 8th floor and landing on a tin roof seven floors down.

His whole body was riddled with cuts bruises but his skull, he said, was almost disjointed! He fought for 41 days in the hospital during which time the doctors did a major sewing up work to put his skull back! Amazingly he can walk now and with no visible neurological disorders! There are other stories of such miraculous escapes from certain death!

SOJAG AGM Held

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The Annual General Meeting of SOJAG General Body was held on Friday, November 01, 2013 at its Headquarters located in Shailan, Dhamrai, Dhaka. Twenty two out of 25 members attended the meeting. The Director of SOJAG, Mr. Abdul Matin, apprised the members about the development and other activities of SOJAG and also the planned activities to be undertaken in the coming year. One milestone activity to be undertaken is the establishment of the Community Radio Station on its own property located in Kalampur, a bustling market area a few kilometers from Dhamrai Upazila and Shailan.

Currently SOJAG’s working areas extend to 348 villages of 44 Unions of 8 Upazilas of Dhamrai, Savar, Kaliakoir, Gazipur Sadar, Mirzapur, Shaturia, Singair and Manikganj Sadar. It has 13 Branch Offices located at Shailan, Dhantara, Noihati, Sombhag, Kawlipara, Nannar, Balia, Ruail, Bohuria, Dhamrai, Talebpur, Zirani and Bhabkhondo.

There are 7 Executive members and they are Mr. Shamsul Islam, President, Mr. Joynal Abedin, Vice-President, Mr. Abul Hossain, Treasurer, Mr. Abdul Quddus, Ms. Roma Gope, Ms. Rehana Parveen are members with Mr. Abdul Matin as ex-officio.

Mr. Shamsul Islam, President, SOJAG presided over the meeting.

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AND EXTENSION PROGRAM

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a) Agriculture Credit & Farmer Insurance

In 2013 SOJAG provided credit to 14,907 farmers the total outstanding of which amounts to Tk. 1,872,310,038. In an effort to extend insurance coverage for the farmers each recipient of credit is required to pay a flat insurance premium of Tk. 30 at the time of loan repayment. In 2012 Amon season at total of Tk. 306,491 was paid to 24 farmers who had died from the Insurance Fund. To date 221 deceased farmers have been a paid Tk. 2,444,020.

b) Transfer of Technology: Seed Production and Distribution

SOJAG has been providing certified HYV paddy seeds – BRI 29- a high yielding rice paddy seed to its organized farmer group members. From reports it has been seen the growers have received increased yields which has resulted in greater demand for the seeds. Fifty tons of BRI 29 have been distributed to farmers and another 75 tons to contact growers already planted on 100 bighas of lands.

c) Guti Urea Production

SOJAG has been implementing this program since 2008 to produce pellets of urea fertilizer in order to avoid waste and proper utilization. In the current 2013 Boro season, 298 metric tons of Guti Urea were distributed to 15,200 Boro farmers to be used in 14,500 bighas of land. To date a total of 42,100 farmers were provided with 1,585 metric tons of guti urea which were used in 77,250 bighas (23,198 acres) of lands.

In addition, Farmers were trained in echo-friendly and toxic free production of vegetables along with the use of 2,200 Pheromone Traps Lures for controlling pests.

Rural Micro-Credit

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This program, especially for rural women for increasing their social awareness and income generating activities, is being implemented in 348 villages of 44 unions under 4 districts. A total of 13,522 women have been brought under this program. Currently, 7,584 women are on the rolls receiving credit with more than 80 million Taka and their total savings amount to Tk.35,593,900. For the long term safety and security, Insurance scheme for them has been introduced. Each member pays Tk. 50 per year as premium and to date 129 members or their husbands who have died have been paid more than taka 1.2 million. SOJAG plans to distribute Tk. 550,000 as credit to 500 destitute women in 2013-14.

SOJAG TRAINING CENTER

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The construction of the 8-storied SOJAG Development Management Institute, located in Kalampur, Dhamrai, is now complete. Each floor has a space of 3000 sq. feet. The building will house the office and studios of SOJAG Radio, Training rooms, hostels, meeting rooms and an auditorium. It will have space for youth involved in ‘out-sourcing’ work.

The topmost floor has sound proof studios and the office of SOJAG Radio under its Community Radio Program. The band width and frequency, however, is expected to be allocated soon. An FM band transmission tower has already been set up on the roof. The 6th floor will have cafeteria; 5th and 4th floor will have dormitories to house 70 participants. There are four VIP rooms as well. The Conference room is housed on the third floor with a capacity of 250 persons. Second floor will have space for out-sourcing work employing youths.

A heavy duty generator (85kva) has been installed, an 8-person lift set up and functioning and internal decoration work is now in progress.

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