Creating Options and Inspiring Change: Basanti Tirkey’s Story
Basanti Tirkey is one of the beneficiaries of Where the Rain Falls (WtRF) project and a member of the Bharat Mata Self-Help Group (SHG). She is one of the practitioners of climate resilient and organic cultivation along with her husband, who was trained on better agricultural practices by the local agriculture department.
Basanti is a role model to the farmers of her the village, who come to see her kitchen garden, horticulture plantation and methods of rice cultivation. Considering Basanti’s potential, the CARE project team selected her to set up a climate resilient agri-kiosk in Gowashi village, Bangladesh. The couple started by receiving an initial three day training programme on the advantages of climate resilient agri-kiosks, seed selection, benefits of organic fertilizer and pesticides, collection of input indenting from farmers, potential input suppliers for linkage building, maintenance of accounts and records and registers of sales. Initial support was provided by the WtRF project, for maintaining seed storage facilities and record and registers.
Basanti proudly claims that her agri-kiosk, which opened in March 2018, is providing climate resilient varieties of seed, organic fertilizer and pesticides to farmers from the nearby villages. She has effectively implemented many skills she has learnt in the training provided by CARE India. Her husband also extended a helping hand in this venture. She prepared a systematic indent of paddy and vegetable seed varieties, and collected information about the varieties, quantity of seed and the time when farmers must procure the crops.
“Earlier, I was afraid to deal with strangers or stepping out of home. Today, I am doing things to help my fellow farmers and earning for my livelihoods. All this is possible with the support of WtRF project and handholding provided by project team,” expressed Basanti
In the last Kharif season, Basanti procured paddy seeds at Rs. 1000/- per 10 kg, against the marked price of Rs. 1105. She could avail this advantage thanks to the linkages with dealers in Raipur established by CARE India. Even the transportation of seed was provided by this dealer. Basanti sold these seeds at Rs. 1100/- to the farmers. This has ensured benefits to Basanti and other farmers, in terms of opportunity cost saving which includes the daily wages that would have to be foregone for procuring seeds, transportation costs, and their own conveyance costs. Farmers also cooperated with Basanti in this process as they could still get the seeds from her at five rupees lower than the open market seed price.
The expansion of Basanti’s business and its potential has caught the attention of many traders. In fact, for the wheat and vegetable crop in the subsequent season, she was approached by a trader to sell 6 quintals of maize seeds. The quality of the seeds was reliable and met the preference of the farmers. As such, she procured the seeds at Rs. 530 per 4 kg and sold the seeds at the same price to farmers from nearby villages including non-project villages. In turn, she was assured of an incentive of Rs. 1000/- per quintal from the trader. She sold the stock of maize seeds that she had purchased in about a week’s time. The maize crop in that season made the farmers happy and strengthened Basanti’s reputation in the community.
Basanti is well prepared to meet the need of the farmers in her surrounding villages by supplying stress-tolerant and climate resilient seed to the farmers. Apart from supply of seed, the kiosk is ready to offer multiple services, such as information about bio-fertilizers and their recommended quantity depending on soil quality and land acreage.
The kiosk is also offering an option – away from the exploitation of traders and middlemen – for the owners to have a few more precious rupees in their pockets, to invest in their land, to make their families lead better lives, to look to a better future.