Village Model Farms (VMFs)
Village Model Farms (VMFs) are resource centres that create intermediate access points and link beneficiary households (BHHs) with public extension workers and private value chain actors.
Homestead food production (HFP) relies on VMFs to ensure the provision of quality input and technical assistance to the community. VMF lead farmers demonstrate and share improved horticulture and poultry farming practices with other beneficiaries.
Each VMF supports 20-25 Suchana beneficiaries as well as other community people as well.
Amina Begum, 35, lives with her husband Faruk Mia, 43, in Husnabad, Sagornal, Juri, Moulvibazar district. They have three sons and three daughters who are studying at school. “My husband was the only earning member of our family and his income was too little to maintain the large expenditures a family of eight requires,” Amina expressed with sorrow. Before getting involved with the Suchana project, she cultivated seasonbased vegetables. Her production was very poor and addedly, the land was waterlogged every year during the rainy season. She did not know how to use the land for the whole year for vegetable production.
At that critical time, the Suchana programme selected Amina as a beneficiary to own a VMF. As a VMF owner, she received 2 days of basic training in horticulture and small-scale poultry rearing. She also learned many new techniques and technologies under the HFP program. “After receiving the training, I realised that I can contribute to my family by establishing a year-round vegetable garden, improved poultry rearing, and vermicomposting. My husband appreciated me and supported me all the way.” stated Amina.
To fight against natural disasters, Suchana is supporting communities to adopt Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices through the HFP initiatives. With knowledge and technical support from Suchana project staff, Amina prepared her farmland by incorporating raised bed and pit gardening techniques during the rainy season (June- September 2020). She cultivated bottle gourd, bitter gourd, kankong, egg-plant, and ridge gourd, etc. Technical guidance enabled Amina and her husband to grow a good amount of produce during the last summer season, and in the last five months, they have earned BDT 19,500. “I was totally inspired by our summer production. With Suchana’s support, I started cultivating winter diversified vegetables a little bit earlier than the normal season, and decided to produce seeding using a shed to protect it against rainfall. I received those seeds free of cost from Suchana.
“I feel proud to introduce myself as a VMF owner. I think that other people in my village can change their life by establishing gardens and poultry development like me. Thanks to the Suchana programme for teaching me about good practices for producing diversified vegetables in hazardous climates.”
Amina Begum, VMF owner
” In this way, Amina produced lots of seedlings like brinjal, tomato, and broccoli, which were transplanted in the main field after one month and are now in the growing stage. This past winter season, Amina distributed 650 tomato, brinjal, broccoli cauliflower, and nolkhol seedlings to the 18 BHHs in her group. She also visited those BHHs to show them how to cultivate the different seedlings.
Amina also prepares vermicompost at her farm, and has significantly increased the number of poultry she owns to 17 ducks owing to improved poultry management practices. In the last two months, she earned TK 850 selling eggs and chickens.
Through selling all these different types of products, Amina wishes to become a local women entrepreneur, earn more money, and improve the well-being of her children. Amina is now a successful VMF owner, and well-known in both her group and her village. Md Nabinur Islam, a Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer (SAAO) with the Department of Agricultural Extension, has been in frequent contact with Amina, and visited her garden. He says, “Amina has been able to establish her VMF as a learning centre for people in the community to visit and learn new climate resilience technologies. This has motivated them to start farming activities like Amina has.”
Beneficiaries regard VMFs positively. Focus group discussions and home visits confirmed beneficiaries were adopting improved HFP practices and were aware of nutrition-rich products. Families are more able to mitigate the impacts of climate change with better crop calendars and flood-resilient crop varieties. Most beneficiaries are confident they can continue vegetable gardening. Farmers are no longer hindered by lack of mobility and can obtain high-quality seeds and seedlings. VMFs and farmers now know who to approach in the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) and Department of Livestock Services (DLS) to obtain high-quality seeds. Women are encouraged to join as community leaders and are more respected in their own households and communities.
House CWN (A) 35, Road 43, Gulshan 2, Dhaka 1212