Through various apps on their smartphones, women farmers can now easily access information about agricultural services
An agriculture revolution is taking place at Bara Kupat in Satkhira’s Shyamnagar upazila, thanks to technology.
Technology has helped reduce the salinity of the soil, which had previously made crop-growing impossible.
Additionally, the use of online and offline apps has eased the cultivation of not only agricultural products, but also poultry and fish farming.
This has changed the fortunes of farmers, particularly women who are gradually becoming self-sufficient after venturing into farming endeavours.
Through various apps on their smartphones, women farmers can now easily access information about agricultural services, fishing technology, poultry rearing, health advice, and other agriculture-related issues.
They are also able to transform their courtyards into mini farms, after taking advice on how to reduce the salinity of the soil.
Monash University of Australia and Oxfam are helping the region’s farmers with the whole process of utilizing their smartphones and searching for relevant apps, in both Bangla and English.
The smartphones have been provided to them by local NGO Shushilon, under their Participatory Research and Ownership with Technology, Information and Change (Protic) project.
Protic has also launched a call centre, where farmers can call and seek advice on any topic, such as remedies for crop diseases, weather forecasts, and such.
The call centre also registers farmers who use their services. They then receive messages with farming tips, to even news of any impending calamity.
The use of technology has benefited a majority of residents in the area as they have poultry farms, mostly for rearing ducks and chicken for selling their meat and eggs, adding another source of income.
Parul Rani, a self-sufficient entrepreneur of Bara Kupat, said her courtyard previously was not suitable for growing crops. But after receiving a smartphone and subsequent technical support from Protic, she was introduced to innovations such as multi-layered farming, sack farming and tower farming.
This has helped her to feed her family, while she sells any extra produce to local retailers.
Sapna Baidya, another farmer, said thanks to Protic’s initiatives, she is now able to grow cauliflowers, cabbages, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and several other vegetables in her courtyard, as well as rear 25 chickens.
Before, when her chickens caught diseases, they would die, she said. But now, thanks to the Protic call centre, she can consult with experts for possible remedies. This significantly reduces the chances of her chickens perishing without treatment.
Mostafa Akteruzzaman, representative of Sushilon’s Protic, said it is a research-based project, under which 100 women were given smartphones and technical support.
Now, their researchers can assess whether that helped the women in becoming more self-sufficient or not, he added.
Abdul Hossain Miah, agriculture officer of Shyamnagar upazila, said the technical advancement in Bara Kupat, which happened due to the Protic project, has led Bara Kupat to become a model village, which other villages of the country could emulate.