Integration of small and marginal farmers with their produce in the weekly ‘Farmers’ Market’ in Dhaka is a way of ensuring better return from the produce.
With the aim of helping the small farmers, the Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM) with the support of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Food Safety Authority (BFSA) earlier opened a weekly ‘Farmers’ Market’ on the premises of Shech Bhaban on Manik Mia Avenue in the capital.
Similar to that marketplace, another ‘Farmers’ Market’ was launched at T-Block in Mirpur area in Dhaka on Friday (June 18) by the joint venture of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (FAO), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust.
The small farmers from Birulia area in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, will sell their vegetable produce of different varieties at the weekly market from 7:00 am every Friday. These farmers are certified by the DAE.
Many said that it is an alternative solution for better access to the market for the smallholder farmers. This initiative will help the consumers to fulfill their nutritional need for a reasonable price.
Ward Councilor of DNCC Md Taijul Islam Chowdhury Bappi formally inaugurated the weekly market. Moderated by Senior Project Officer of WBB Trust Ziaur Rahman, the inauguration ceremony was attended, among others, by Director of WBB Trust Gaous Pearee, National Project Coordinator of FAO Jainal Abedin, DAE’s Additional Agriculture Officer Moriom Khatun, DAM’s Deputy Director Md Fazlur Rahman, its Assistant Director Tauhid MD Rashed Khan, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist of FAO Zahangir Alam, FAO representative Md Nazrul Islam, Chairman of Baitul Jannat Jame Mosque of T-Block, Dr Abul Kashem, Member Secretary Belayet Hossain, and Awami League leader Md Abdur Rahim Sardar.
Eight farmers from Birulia area brought their safe produces in the inauguration ceremony of this farmers’ market.
Taijul Islam Chowdhury Bappi said, “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is committed to make a self-sufficient Bangladesh in food sector. Safe vegetables are little costly.
If we avoid eating safe vegetables for the price, we will end up spending for our treatment. So, we must focus on eating healthy.”
He, however, requested the farmers to sell the produces in a reasonable price as much as possible.
Gaous Pearee said, “We have realised the necessity of consuming safe vegetables even more after Covid-19. Farmers’ market is a good source to access safe and healthy diet. If we can establish a farmers’ market in every ward, city dwellers will be benefitted.”
Jainal Abedin said. “We have established the farmers’ market at Ward No. 6 of DNCC as a pilot project. If we succeed, we will expand it in other wards of the DNCC and the DSCC.”
Moriom Khatun said, “We provide regular training, organic fertilisers and organic pesticides to the farmers. As producing safe vegetables take more efforts it is a little costly. But we can ensure the good quality and health benefits.”
Tauhid Md Rashed Khan said that farmers market would ensure a win-win situation for both consumers and farmers. “I believe that it will expand throughout Dhaka. We are also working to establish farmers’ market in every district of Bangladesh,” he added. Fazlur Rahman said, “We will provide all necessary support from our side.”
The speakers said that Bangladesh is an agriculture-based country and plenty of vegetables are produced here. Many farmers now produce safe food by using organic fertilizers and organic pesticides. But they are deprived of fare prices due to the current market system.