He makes pesticides with natural ingredients and organic fertiliser with the compost of cow dung, water hyacinth and other plants. He takes these to the farmers in the fields, recommending that they to use this fertiliser and pesticide instead of chemical fertiliser and toxic pesticides. He makes the farmers aware of the benefits of organic methods of cultivation and the concept of of safe food.
This is Abdul Majid Sardar from the village Sanyasgachha in Keshabpur upazila of Jashore. He has been carrying out this method of farming for more than a decade. The 62-year-old man has made a model plantation of vegetables and fruits in his yard. His idea appears as a saviour at a time when people are concerned about adulterated food. Farmers come to him to seek suggestions about growing chemical-free produce.
Majid went to Dhaka to earn a living after completing high school. He tried to run a business but that flopped. He returned to his village to start farming.
The idea of growing safe food struck him in 2002. He began following natural methods of cultivation, making organic pesticides using natural ingredients.
Local farmers initially found his initiative crazy. However, in course of time, they too started adopting his methods.
A farmer of Sanyasgachha village, Kamrul Fakir, said he was successful in growing chemical-free crops on the advice of Abdul Majid.
According to farmer Belal Hossain, Abdul Majid's suggestion of using organic fertilisers and pesticides in rice cultivation yielded good results last year.
Abdul Majid is now invited to various meeting and seminars by the agriculture department where he advises farmers on organic methods of farming and growing safe food.
“He loves farming. Majid’s home garden is an ideal one in the area,” said Keshabpur Upazila deputy assistant agriculture officer Tapan Kumar Dey.
Majid has a wonderful garden of fruits and vegetables at home. He sells some of the produce in the market after meeting his own family needs. His vegetables and fruits include strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, broccoli, cloves, pumpkins, dragon garlic, onions, coriander leaves and mustard. People came from far to see the garden. Many of them are now making gardens with this advice.
Majid is becoming quite well known in different areas of the country for his innovative methods. Mostafa Kamal of Kaliganj upazila of Jhenaidah said, Majid's organic fertilisers and insecticides are very good. He has succeeded in cultivating cauliflowers, cabbages and eggplants using his concoctions.
“Abdul Majid possesses a researcher’s mind. He calls me and exchanges his thoughts often. His initiative is good,” said Monirul Islam, a teacher of agro technology of Khulna University.
However, financial constraints restrict Abdul Majid's farming initiatives. He dreams of making an organic farm.
*The report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakat