Skretting expertise to poor families of Bangladesh

May 21, 2010 12:34

Empowerment of the Poor through Integrated Agriculture (EPIA) is a project that aims to reduce poverty in the Patuakali-district in the southern delta region of Bangladesh. In order to do so, 3000 family farms will be established through the development of small scale integrated combinations of fish farming, chicken farming, and homestead gardening, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Skretting.

General Manager in Skretting North West Europe, Hans Vink is part of the Skretting/ Nutreco team that will follow up the project. Vink's role is to provide competence and guidance in the field of fish farming, while his colleagues from Nutreco will provide equivalent competence in the field of agriculture. In December 2009 Hans Vink visited the project together with colleagues from Nutreco.

"The purpose of our first visit was to get an idea of what the project will need to successfully develop the farms. We were already able to give some initial advice. In our visits to come we will be able to go more into depth, says Vink.

Approximately 200 farms are already established and have started gaining income out of this integrated agriculture. Model farms are created in order to convince other families to join the project and to accept a small loan (micro-credit) to build the poultrybarn, buy the feed and the day-old chickens and fingerlings.

Having travelled in poor countries earlier, Hans Vink was prepared for what he saw, but he still describes the people of Bangladesh as being extremely poor.

"By our standards these people have nothing. One experience that made an impression on me was the meeting with a woman whose only source of income was two brood hens. The birds lived in her bedroom and the eggs they hatched were her only future, says Vink.

But despite the poverty Vink also says he felt that people had hopes for the future and were struggling to improve their lives rather than dwelling with the past. He is also confident that the potential for improvement through the EPIA is huge.

"The scope for improvement through EPIA is tremendous. Rather simple and cheap measures, combined with training, improved farm management, guidance and the supply of some micro-credits will surely make a huge difference to the poor and marginalized households in this rural Patuakali-population. It is a great experience that Nutreco and Skretting can contribute through EPIA to the welfare of these families in Bangladesh, says Vink.

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