Akhterun Nahar
An Experienced Female Entrepreneur

My journey as an entrepreneur began almost 12 years ago. In 2009, I was taking care of the poultry and fish business of my father. After getting married in 2012, my husband helped me to grow the business with the addition of cattle rearing. So, from 2014, I managed cattle, poultry, and fish simultaneously. Not only that, but I also worked a voluntary job. Before COVID-19, we were happy with the way our business was running with 3 different types of products. We were selling our products to the market at a really good price with a respectable profit margin. 

However, with COVID-19 coming at the beginning of 2020, we started facing a plethora of issues starting from the increase in the cost of managing the farm to the lack of market to sell the products. We weren’t able to reach our market or customers during this time due to the pandemic. Before that, we had a total of 2 cows and 3 bulls. But because of the decreasing demand, we could not keep those cattle. That’s when we had to sell our cattle at a loss in the market, just to keep the business going. We even had to throw away our milk produced during this time because we weren’t able to sell our milk in the market. We lost around 600+ chickens worth BDT 50,000 during this time.

Even though our business was rough during COVID-19, we had to fight for our survival one way or another. We took help from friends and family with financing. My father helped us with BDT 2,00,000 which we used to buy a pond and start our business from scratch once again after the pandemic. We even received a government stimulus package during this time to keep our business running. Due to all these, we were able to continue our business once again even during this crisis. Our constant friend in the middle of all this time was the RDRS. They gave us training on how to operate a farm business when we were just starting. We got to know about different cattle diseases and how to get them a cure in order to keep them healthy for sale and cultivation. We even got to know about LightCastle Partners from RDRS. So, all of their contributions to our post-COVID recovery were really helpful to get back on our feet.

In the future, we plan to expand our business by increasing the size of our farm and rearing more cattle. For this, we need investment as we are already suffering from the previous losses. We already got cattle from Oxfam and LightCastle Partners as an investment. It has increased our production and led us to recover some of the losses. After getting more investment, we plan to buy some cattle and emphasize storing the milk properly so that we don’t have to throw it away anymore. However, we know the changes will not come so easily. That’s why we are constantly trying our best to deliver the best products in the market. Hopefully, down the line, we will start to see some major improvements.