I won’t say that I have a great deal of experience in this business industry, however, 12 years time is not a short period of time. I always saw people around me doing something in the agriculture sector but it took me long enough to realize that I too, should jump right in. So, eventually, in the year 2010, I started my own business with cattle. Before this time, it was only my husband running this business. But when I joined him, the situation changed for us because now that both of us were working, our earnings increased and we became more self-sufficient.
While working, I found out about the REE-CALL project from Oxfam. The project encouraged and empowered women like us to increase the quality of our livelihoods They conducted some training sessions where they discussed thoroughly the business aspect of rearing cattle. I became a member and a supporter of their cause and continued to learn from them. I was made aware of crossbreed cattle which were evidently more beneficial for this business since they produced more milk and were also easy to manage.
Another great thing about cattle is that they can produce healthy babies every year. I knew what I had to do. I continued to grow my cattle farm and started selling the produced milk to the market. However, unbeknownst to me, there was a big obstacle lying ahead. I could not sell any milk to the big players in the market, like Milk Vita or Aarong because they did not take chilled milk for their production. But this did not mean that I could not sell any. So, I reached out to the local market and sold my cattle milk there. They gave me BDT 37/Kg for milk with a good amount of fat and around BDT 32/Kg for milk with less fat. The business was not bad. I was happy with what the Almighty was providing me to live my life. However, that happiness did not last long and it changed drastically in the year 2020.
When the Covid-19 wave hit our country, everything became uncertain. The demand plummeted for both our farm’s milk and cattle. So, we had to sell the milk below the market price. Moreover, the price of cattle food shot right up and it was getting harder to feed them properly. The market was not active as before and we did not know what to do. However, we received some help from the government with subsidies to purchase the cattle food and we barely managed to take care of the firm without having to sell any cattle. Those days of suffering haunt us to this day!
At this point, even though the market reverted to its normal state, we are still looking for opportunities to regain our market position. This is when Oxfam came again into our lives along with LightCastle Partners. They helped us greatly to recover some of the losses and guided us all throughout. Currently, our priority is to stabilize the business and then expand it further.