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Maize farming changes Mazeda's life

DHAKA, June 3, 2017 (BSS) - Finally smiles flashed on the face of Mazeda Begum, a successful female farmer of Gopidanga under Kawnia upazila in Rangpur district. Now she leads a happy life with her husband and children as maize farming changed her life.

The densely populated Gopidanga village mainly lies in char areas. The main income source of the villagers is agriculture. Most of the people of this village are very poor and underprivileged and they don't have farmland of their own.

Basically they cultivate crops by taking lease of land. Apart from this, a good number of people maintain their family by labouring on daily basis. Many live hand to mouth and there are many people in the village who are struggling to manage their meals thrice on a day.

The womenfolk of this village dream of coming out of the economic hardship and arrangement of
meals thrice on a day. They also dream of sending their children to school, wearing new clothes on every occasion and running their life smoothly.

But they can’t fulfill their dream as many people of their village particularly males are backdated and rooted in superstition. They don’t want that their daughter-in-laws and girls do work going out of the house.

But hurdles couldn’t beat Mazeda. She started maize farming fighting against the superstitious society. In the beginning, she didn’t get expected production as she didn’t know how to cultivate well.

One day she was introduced to an official of a local NGO named "Recall Project". She expressed her eagerness about maize cultivation to the NGO official. Then the NGO official briefed Mazeda about modern technology of cultivation and later made an arrangement for proper training for her.

In the training session, she learned how to cultivate maize and what amount of pesticide and fertilizer is needed in this regard.

After completing training, she embarked on maize cultivation and became successful. She got more production than expected.

The next story of Mazeda was like a fairytale. She didn’t need to look back any more. Her days have changed now. She bought some pieces of land through the money she earned by selling maize. She cultivates other crops along with maize on those lands.

Initially she started cultivation with her husband, but they now engaged day labourers as the quantity of their farm land has increased.

Mazeda said: “I started cultivation fighting against family and society which were deeply rooted in superstition. People here don’t take it easy that females do work out of the house. But my husband helped me a lot. There was a time we couldn’t arrange meals thrice and send our children to school. We couldn’t buy clothes for them. Now days have changed.”

She said “Initially I didn’t get good production. So I got frustrated. I thought not to cultivate. But the madam of NGO encouraged me. According to her advice, I took training. Mainly that training changed my life. I am well-off now. I have built new house for us and bought some pieces of land. We can send our children to school.”

Mazeda’s husband Rahmat said: “We faced a lot of economic hardship as I couldn’t maintain my family properly.

I used to work as a day labourer and had a little to do more for my family. When I thought to go to town for work, my wife came up with suggestion to cultivate maize."

He continued: "In the beginning, we started cultivation on my own farmland along with taking lease of some pieces of land. But we didn’t get production well first time. But I continued helping my wife seeing her skill and now we are in good condition.”

Shaheda, who works as a day labourer in Mazeda’s farmland, said: it’s not been a long time ago Mazeda faced a lot of agony. But her days have changed now. Seeing Mazeda's success, many women of the village followed her.

"Mazeda has established herself at a dignified position in the society and she gets invitation at different functions. I also dream of becoming well-off like Mazeda.”