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An Agricultural Entrepreneur in Bangladesh

Posted On: July 14, 2023
Md. Mehadi Hasan holding a tray of papaya seedlings
Md. Mehadi Hasan with a tray of seedlings.

From Marketing to Farming

I want the people of Barishal division to know me for my achievement in agriculture,” said Md. Mehadi Hasan, a 26-year-old farmer and entrepreneur in south-central Bangladesh. After earning his university degree, he began to work as a marketing officer, but he did not enjoy his job. So he started to help his father with his vegetable farm instead. 

At the farm, he observed that in the summertime it was very difficult to control plant pests and diseases. He asked for help at a local agricultural-input dealer’s shop, but their advice did not work well. He then turned to the Upazila (Subdistrict) Agriculture Office, and their guidance helped him to maintain healthier crops. He started earning a good profit, which encouraged him to choose agriculture as his occupation.

To bring his farm to the next level, the Upazila Agriculture Officer suggested that he contact East-West Seed Knowledge Transfer Foundation. Mehadi soon became a key farmer, working closely with EWS-KT to set up a farming demonstration plot. For his first demo, in December 2021, he grew bottle gourd (Dotora Super, an East-West Seed variety). The yield was well beyond his expectations, with a return on investment (ROI) of 169%.

Through group trainings and individual coaching from EWS-KT, he learned about different agricultural techniques and acquired more knowledge and skills regarding pest and disease management. After his bottle gourd harvest, he started two more demos, with the yard long bean demo bringing in a 69% ROI and the hot pepper demo resulting in an ROI of 258%. 

A Focus on Seedlings

Before working with EWS-KT, Mehadi had a small nursery for fruit tree seedlings. Through EWS-KT, he learned more about the importance of a protected nursery for raising healthy vegetable plants, and he began to focus on vegetable seedlings. His experience as a key farmer raised his confidence and inspired him to operate his nursery as a commercial venture. 

Md. Mehadi Hasan inspects some seedlings inside his seedling house
Md. Mehadi Hasan next to a batch of papaya seedlings. These seedlings (East-West Seed’s Red Gun variety) were pre-ordered by farmers. Although he sells other papaya varieties, Red Gun is the most popular.

Gradually, Mehadi learned about other East-West Seed crops, and farmers showed an interest in purchasing those varieties from his nursery. Due to the demand for more seedlings, he enlarged the nursery and now sells a range of different seedlings, including papaya, mango, watermelon, bitter gourd, tomato, eggplant, chili, and bottle gourd. 

Both the Upazila Agriculture Office and EWS-KT refer interested farmers to Mehadi’s nursery. He earns 20,000–25,000 taka (US$185–$230) per month from the nursery. In addition to selling seedlings, he offers free advice to his customers to help them with their crops.  

Entrepreneurial Vision

Mehadi also shares his knowledge with other farmers through his Facebook account, and he makes good use of digital technology in his agricultural businesses. He keeps records by capturing photos of his activities and saving them in his mobile phone for future reference. He also regularly watches agriculture-related videos and applies some of their practices in real life, as he continues to farm his own crops as well as operate his nursery. He is currently growing hot pepper, utilizing all the techniques he learned from EWS-KT.

Mehadi has a true passion for agriculture. He collects different varieties of vegetables and fruits as a hobby, and he is a well-known participant in different agriculture fairs at the national level. Besides the nursery business, he is planning to start dairy farming for the purpose of ensuring sufficient vermicomposting for his nursery and vegetable crops. 

He wants to serve as an example for other young people who are searching for a job, encouraging them to become an entrepreneur in the agricultural sector. From where we stand, he is an excellent role model to follow!

interior of plant-filled greenhouse with business sign in the back