Agriculture being the foundation of Bangladesh economy and coupled with the fact that 85% of SOJAG’s target population is dependent on agriculture, SOJAG in 1999 launched Agriculture program with assistance from DANIDA. The main objectives of the program were to disseminate correct and appropriate information on crop technology, increase efficiency and effective utilization and use of agricultural inputs for maximizing yields and output. One of the main objectives was also to provide much needed credit to marginal farmers and share croppers. Credit recipients had to return loans in single payment after harvesting. The rate of repayment was 100 percent. The program ran for six years with very encouraging results.

This experience led SOJAG to initiate and launch Agriculture Extension & Credit program in 2005 with financial assistance from PKSF (Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation). While the objectives and goals of the Program have remained the same, it now covers more geographical areas and ever increasing number of marginal farmers and share-croppers. The Program details are as follows:

Area Coverage (Upazila): Dhamrai, Savar, Kaliakoir, Mirzapur, Saturia, Manikganj, Singair, Gazipur Sadar and Nagorpur

  • Unions: 45
  • Villages: 350
  • No. of Groups: 3,172
  • Members: 35,110
  • Female Groups: 1,361
  • Male groups: 1,811
  • Female: 14,323
  • Male: 20,787

Through this Program farmers are provided with agricultural inputs and training on modern agricultural practices along with much needed credit for agricultural inputs. Considering the cost of production SOJAG provides Tk. 3,500 per biga and a maximum of Tk. 10,000 per farmer. Farmers now use this credit to raise Boro, Amon and winter vegetables. It can be mentioned that the rate of repayment is 100 percent. The success of SOJAG endeavors has encouraged other local NGOs to take up similar program and PKSF itself is inspiring other partners to go for such programs.

 

SMALL CREDIT IN AGRICULTURE SECTOR

This is one of the successful programs of SOJAG. SOJAG is working with 17,500 plus farmer members of 1,383 groups in 348 villages under its working areas. A total of more than Tk. 300 million were provided to members for procuring agricultural inputs, such as, improved seeds, fertilizer for Boro/Aman cultivation. The rate of repayment of loans has been satisfactory (98.5%). Currently, the number of full time field staff in this program is 52 and also have 4 graduate agriculturists and 22 agriculture diploma holders.

SEED PRODUCTION

Agriculture being the foundation of Bangladesh economy and coupled with the fact that 85% of SOJAG’s target population is dependent on agriculture, SOJAG in 1999 launched Agriculture program with assistance from DANIDA. The main objectives of the program were to disseminate correct and appropriate information on crop technology, increase efficiency and effective utilization and use of agricultural inputs for maximizing yields and output. One of the main objectives was also to provide much needed credit to marginal farmers and share croppers. Credit recipients had to return loans in single payment after harvesting. The rate of repayment was 100 percent. The program ran for six years with very encouraging results.

This experience led SOJAG to initiate and launch Agriculture Extension & Credit program in 2005 with financial assistance from PKSF (Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation). While the objectives and goals of the Program have remained the same, it now covers more geographical areas and ever-increasing number of marginal farmers and share-croppers. The Program details are as follows:

Through this Program farmers are provided with modern agricultural practices along with much needed credit for agricultural inputs. Considering the cost of production SOJAG provides Tk. 5,000 per biga and a maximum of Tk. 30,000 per farmer. Farmers now use this credit to raise Boro, Amon and winter vegetables. It can be mentioned that the rate of repayment is 100 percent.

In keeping with SOJAG’s objective of boosting agriculture production and helping farmers augment increased income, SOJAG has launched its Seed Plant Program. The facility will have storage capacity of 700 metric tons of different high yielding varieties of paddy processed with the installed Cleaner and Grader machineries installed in the Seed Plant.

SOJAG has plans to sell 100 metric tons of Foundation and TLS paddy seeds (BRRI DHAN-29, BRRI DHAN-50 and BRRI DHAN-58) to about 10,000 of its contact farmers for 2016-17 Boro season.

The sale price has been fixed as follows:

BRRI DHAN-29 (Foundation): Tk. 60/kg

BRRI DHAN-29 (TLS): Tk. 50/kg

BRRI DHAN-50 (Banglamoti-TLS): Tk. 50/kg

BRRI DHAN-58 (TLS): Tk. 50/kg

The rates compare favorably with other NGOs and firms, however, a little higher than the government rate because of the subsidy that it provides.

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. The average yearly production is around 250 metric tons. 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.

MECHANIZATION IN AGRICULTURE

Dictated by the need of the times and for increased production and higher yields SOJAG has been promoting the introduction of technology in the agriculture sector. SOJAG has encouraged the use of rice planter, machine to apply guti urea pallets, hand reaper for harvesting paddy and the use of paddy thrasher.

Combined Harvester: SOJAG procured a Combined Harvester and had it deployed in harvesting IRRI crop recently in Shailan and other adjoining villages of Dhamrai. This awesome machine can harvest one acre of paddy field in about an hour. The paddy is separated from the stalks and collected in a sack leaving the stalks in the ground to be collected and bundled easily. This operation does away a few processing steps and makes life so much easier for the farmer. This has generated enormous interest amongst the farmers.

BIO-GAS

Meeting increased demand for fuel for cooking and prevent wanton felling of trees, SOJAG launched bio-gas program with assistance from IDCOL. As a safeguard against ever-increasing risk of pollution and as a byproduct of existing mini-farms, SOJAG has setup more than 200 biogas plants. Local masons have been provided training on technical aspects of setting up and constructing biogas plants.