Bangladesh’s farming sector is pivotal for the country’s growth and economy, engaging 47 percent of the labour force in 2015 and comprising 16 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. However, agriculture in this fast-growing economy is hampered by challenges from loss of arable land to population growth, from climate change to lack of quality seeds, and an absence of credit support to farmers. Often, the prices farmers receive for their produce are lower than they should be, trapping farmers in a cycle of poverty. Taking on these challenges here is agricultural company, Partex Agro, which is focused on developing new crop varieties that are high yielding, adapted to changing climates and resistant to pests and diseases. This women-owned enterprise concentrates on scientific research to develop and deliver innovative agricultural products, technologies and services aimed at enhancing food security.
Partex Agro has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) to improve the lives and livelihoods of 5,000 low-income farming communities by integrating them into its agricultural value chain as growers, suppliers and distributors by 2020. BCtA is accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals by challenging companies to develop inclusive business models that engage people with less than US$8 per day in purchasing power as consumers, producers, suppliers and distributors. Partex Agro is scaling up its inclusive value-chain model, which engages farmers as suppliers, distributors, employees and consumers. By engaging farmers in producing high-quality seeds and high-yield crops that command fair prices and catalyze local entrepreneurship.
Specialised training is given to seed producers, who then sell the seeds they grow to Partex Agro at a competitive price. Partex Agro then sells these quality seeds to farmers, providing them with training on sustainable agriculture and the optimal use of fertilizers as well as pre and post-harvest management. This year, Partex also began buying back fruits and vegetables from smallholder farmers, which it can market through its sister food company, Danish. This ensures a stable market and income for farming families.
Sustainable growth is absolutely critical to developing a country’s economic and social growth. This why Partex Agro is educating farmers about the importance of sustainable agriculture. It is engaging farmers in its distribution network as retailers, mobile seed vendors and local service providers. It is also providing vital credit and loan facilities to all its partners so that they can use good quality agro-inputs, apply modern technologies, expand their operations, enhance their business capacity, purchase livestock or improve the sustainability of their farms.
In its short span of operations, Partex Agro has become a trusted partner for development agencies, forging strong collaboration with universities, research organisations and other companies. More than ensuring food security, initiatives like Partex Agro’s are involving agricultural communities in poverty alleviation, employment generation, development and empowering a new generation of successful farmers.
Photo Credit: Partex/BCtA