TWICE THE RICE
Background: The Accelerating Agriculture Productivity Improvement (AAPI) project is a USAID funded initiative designed to improve food security and accelerate income growth in rural areas of Bangladesh by increasing agricultural productivity on a sustainable basis.
The Story: “Son, rice is our life, rice is everything,” Taroni's father instructed him growing up in southern Bangladesh. Now that his father has passed away he repeats the same idiom to his children, “Rice is our life. Rice is everything.”
Taroni is an ordinary rice farmer in Barisol—a district on the banks of the Kirtankhola river in south-central Bangladesh established in 1876 during the British Raj. Barisal is a rice producing center of Bangladesh most popular for a kind of Basmati rice.
18 MILLION FARM FAMILIES GROW RICE ACROSS BANGLADESH
Like many other farmers in the region, Taroni started farmed at 14 years old. He learned from his father. He felt a responsibility to support his family.
Now he supports his wife, daughter, son and mother.
Using traditional methods of cultivation he used to get very small yields. That made it very difficult for his family to survive.
Then, his father passed away. It was the hardest time of his life. "It was darkness all around. There was no one to help me," he remembers.
A local agriculture officer told him about a training program nearby. He decided to check it out in hopes it could help him learn how to produce more rice.
In the trainings he learned about quality seeds, planting in a line, and how to use Guti fertilizer.
Everything he learned from the training he taught to his wife, daughter and son. Now they all work together in the field behind their house.
Now he produces two times more rice than before.
He also learned he can use the same techniques on his vegetables and has increased their production as well. Now they eat a lot of vegetables. They also give some to their relatives and sell the rest in a local market.
He started farming ducks and chickens. The eggs provide a lot of vitamins and improved nutrition for his family.
With the additional income, he is able to send his daughter to paramedic school and he bought a bicycle for his son to go to school.
"When I was young I didn’t have the opportunity to study. But now my children have the choice. They can go into any profession they desire."
USAID HAS HELPED 1.97 MILLION FARMERS INCREASE THEIR PRODUCTION.
Production: Mehedi Hussain
Translation: Mehedi Hussain / Ahsan Khan (USAID)
Videography: Josh Estey / Morgana Wingard
Photography: Josh Estey
Editing: Sarah Grile
Music: Ryan Huff