Indigo cultivation stages a comeback in Rangpur
RANGPUR, Nov 26: Gone are the days when the farmers showed reluctance to sow a single seedling of indigo plant and faced tyranny from the British rulers. Cultivation of indigo has now turned into a blessing, a way to change socio-economic condition of hundreds of farmers in Rangpur.
Farmers of Rajendrapur under Rangpur Sadar upazila are cultivating indigo and producing dye from it, which they call ‘True Bengal Natural Indigo Dye’.
Rani, an indigo farmer from Kumarpara, said, “I am a divorcee. Now I am leading a happy life with my daughter and two sons. Two years ago we couldn’t have even two meals a day.”
Rani sold indigo leaves worth Tk 4,000 two months ago.
“I earned Tk 12,000 by selling indigo leaves to the company. Besides, I made Tk 6,000 from selling indigo sticks,” said Jagadish Chandra Barman, a landless farmer of Rajendrapur. He also cultivates indigo on the roadsides of his village.
He added that since he was struggling for money, his daughter had to stop attending school after primary education. Those days are gone for him and she is back to school now.
Jagadish was referring to the Nijera Cottage and Village Industries Ltd (NCVI), a social enterprise of the underprivileged. It has helped change the socio-economic conditions of the underprivileged to a great extent.
Sumanta Kumar Barman, Chairman of NCVI told The Financial Express that they have started exporting indigo to Canada, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and India. With the increase in use of natural dye world wide, the demand for indigo dye is swelling, he also said.
Only 180 members started NCVI like a co-operative society. It has extended its working units and set up structures gradually, he added.
“Indigo stick is good fuel. We can make about Tk 5,000 more from selling the sticks,” said Abul Kashem, a farmer of Rajendrapur.
CARE Bangladesh worked with the poor people of Rajendrapur under its Social Economic Transformation of the Ultra Poor (SETU) project. Shareholders of the company appreciated the role of CARE for coming forward with the idea of reviving indigo farming.
Team leader of SETU project Anwarul Haq said, “When we found that the villagers needed to be involved with long term income generating activities, we began to explore resources for them. We found indigo cultivation to be a good solution to this end.”
Anwar lauded the company shareholders who have been working hard to upgrade it gradually. CARE Bangladesh provides technical support and training for the company.
Some other cottage enterprises of the NCVI produce quality products, which are in great demand in the foreign countries.
The shareholders-cum-workers of the company manually sew elegant kantha (quilts), which are dyed with indigo.