The growing problem of food adulteration continues to be a health concern. However, people are more aware now than before, and instead of waiting for others to take initiatives to fix the situation, they are taking matters into their own hands and doing whatever possible to minimise the consequences of food adulteration in society and on themselves.
How would you react if you found out that about half of the vegetable items in the markets are intoxicated by pesticides? Unfortunately, that is exactly what the situation is like. According to a survey conducted by the National Food Safety Laboratory (NFSL), with support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), most of the vegetable items sold in the market are adulterated with pesticides.
Over time, the list of adulterated food items grew longer as several other daily grocery items were found to be adulterated as well. Even fish, chicken, fruits and spices have not been exempted from this list. Civilians are purchasing and consuming fatal chemicals such as formalin and lead chromium along with their groceries.
A lot of mobile courts have appeared but the entire process of getting things under control is still just a work in progress. It's high time people were made aware of it and something was being done to prevent it. But the fact that a few people and organisations have started to combat the problem of food contamination, is probably the only silver lining.
Jahan Dairy is one such organisation. To provide nutritious food for families, they began farming their own products. The rising demand for healthy food initiated this endeavour. Jahid Alam, one of the initiators said, “There is an endless demand for unadulterated food with zero supply. We wanted to grow vegetables and other food items for personal consumption but it was too expensive. That's when we decided to start farming these items not for just ourselves, but for others looking to buy unadulterated food items as well. We wanted to serve people and also create a sustainable process.”
Alam also informed that everything which include milk and milk products such as ghee, curd, deshi chicken and eggs and fish are produced in their own farm in Mawla, Gazipur. Vegetables and fruits are sold depending on their seasonal availability. A few products such as ghee are being processed as per order. Enriched by the knowledge of feasibility and demand gathered from pilot projects, Jahan Dairy has dedicated gardens for each fruit. Initially, they started with papaya, guava and mango.
In the 16 bigha farm everything is farmed through natural processes. “In our chicken farm, we strictly avoid processed food, and we feed local rice grains. The same process has been applied to every other section. And in future our plan is to focus more on vegetables,” Alam said. Most of their customers are from Gulshan, Banani, Morpur DOHS, Dhanmondi, Uttara and Niketon. For nearer places, home delivery is Tk50 and for more distant destinations, Tk100 is charged. Currently, Jahan Dairy takes orders from across the city throughout the week and does home deliveries on Fridays and Saturdays via their hotline number (+8801710990999).
Sabuj Udyog, which specialises in the same sector are providing unadulterated red/white flour, deshi sugar, a variety of rice, spices, shudh ghee, achaar, honey, puffed rice, seasonal fruits etc. Apart from having their own farm, they also source their products from local farmers. Sabuj Udyog has a store in 766/E, Road-7, Baitul Aman Housing, Adabor, Mohammadpur. They also take orders through their hotline number (+8801791002007). “In the four years of our journey, we have never compromised with quality. With our numbers growing consistently, we are currently serving more than 500 customers,” Firoz Alam, a sales executive of the store happily informed.
Another similar initiative by Madol has been providing organic food for the last ten months. Their products include rice, lentil, different types of spices and puffed rice, which they collect from reliable local farmers directly, and from districts renowned for each agricultural product. Belal Hossain, Manager, said, “Milk is collected from Madol's own farm located in Savar. After collecting the seeds and raw materials from local farmers - mustard oil, powder of coriander, turmeric and cumin are produced under the careful supervision of our staff.”
Till now, most of the sales are operated by its shop at Panthapath near Square hospital, and home delivery is available for walking distance customers. This shop has around 15 regular customers who hail from Uttara and Gulshan to get their products.
Siqat Food Shop offers kalijira honey, collected directly from farmers, and Sundarban honey collected from the local mawali. They can be reached at their designated hotline as well (+8801875221866).