Mr. Shahjahan is a crop clinic advisor for Bayer Crop Science in the Jashore District of southwestern Bangladesh. Back in March 2018, he participated in a Training of Trainers with other advisors through Bayer’s partnership with the Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice and Diversified Crops Activity. Funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, the RDC Activity partnered with Bayer to support its unique approach to providing farm advisory services in rural Bangladesh through crop clinics. There, farmers can bring samples of their crop, and advisors will guide them on how to treat for pests or diseases.

Following the training, Bayer encouraged Mr. Shahjahan and other advisors to include at least five women in each of their clubs. He went above and beyond this to include 16 women at the crop clinic at the Rohmat Bazar in the Kushtia District. One of the women was Sharmin Sultana, who also received training from the Bayer Crop Clinic. Together, she and Mr. Shahjahan engaged 16 more enthusiastic women.

Ms. Sultana began helping Bayer organize a club with only female members. However, because of the COVID-19 crisis, the 25 potential new members have not yet formalized their club. Ms. Sultana is also helping with the expansion of the business area, as there is not currently a Bayer distributor there.

Last season, Ms. Sultana convinced her husband to buy the rice seed variety AZ 7006 from Bayer during the boro rice season, one of three rice seasons in Bangladesh. He purchased four kilograms of rice seed and cultivated two bigha of land. Ms. Sultana marketed this rice seed to her husband and others, resulting in the sale of 10 kilograms that season. She is now one of Bayer’s ambassador farmers, who reach out to communities and play a significant role in introducing Bayer’s rice seed to the area, with the goal of improving food security and farmers’ incomes.

Because of Mr. Shahjahan’s confidence in her abilities, he planned to sell 200 kilograms of seed in her area during the aman season. But he soon surpassed that goal and instead sold 600 kilograms to 150 farmers. With a price of BDT 350 per kilogram, that meant Bayer sold BDT 210,000 worth of rice seed.

Mr. Shahjahan expressed his gratitude over the phone to Ms. Sultana for encouraging her husband and other farmers to buy the rice seed. While still not big business for the company, Bayer is expanding its business area thanks to crop clinic services and female ambassador farmers like Ms. Sultana.

Mr. Motinur Rahman, a regional manager in Kushtia, reported that during the last aman season in 2020, Bayer sold 30 metric tons of AZ 7006 rice seed. This high sale was the result of combined efforts among the Bayer Crop Clinic, the Kushtia team’s branding and promotional work, COVID-19 emergency support, and the influence of one female ambassador farmer, Ms. Sultana.

Learn more about the Feed the Future Rice and Diversified Crops Activity.

Learn more about our work in Bangladesh.