The Seeds of a Cow

Sweet gourds are a good source of nutrition and income for farmers in Bangladesh. Photo: UBINIG

Champa Begum lives with her husband, Saiful and their younger child on 1/10 of an acre of land in Shalpa Naru village in Bangladesh.   Champa  uses their small homestead as a home garden to supplement the nutrition and income that comes from the additional 1/5 acre of land that Saiful farms. .

At a workshop in the local dai ghor, the centre for traditional birth attendants supported by PWRDF partner UBINIG, she learned that sweet gourds are very nutritious.  Her problem was that she didn’t have any sweet gourd seeds.

She visited the Nayakrishi Seed Hut next door do the dai ghor.  Seed huts are places, also supported by UBINIG, where farmers store a wide variety of seeds for indigenous crops.  Champa was able to borrow some sweet gourd seeds to start her first crop.

Champa’s crop did very well and she had enough sweet gourds to feed her family, but had an extra four dozen gourds that she was able to sell at the market.  She used the proceeds from this sale to purchase a goat.

But what Champa really wanted was a cow.  She had had to sell her cow several years earlier when her older child, a daughter, got married.  The family had never had the money to replace the cow.

Just six months after starting to grow sweet gourds, Champa’s goat had grown big enough that she could sell it and, with a bit of extra money she’s saved, buy a calf.  Within a year, her calf will have grown up and Champa will finally have a cow again.

After the harvest, Champa returned the seed she had borrowed to the seed hut.  It had been a highly successful season- she fed her family, returned the borrowed seed, had enough seed to plant next season, and bought a cow!

From a seed to a cow- thanks to Champa’s hard work and a helping hand from PWRDF’s partner UBINIG.

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