"If ActionAid had not thought of this new and easy seed-loan process, I don't think I could have produced enough food for my family," says Afsa Begum, 27, who lives with her husband and three children in Jamalgonj of northern Bangladesh.
ActionAid is working with women farmers like Afsa to increase their crop yields. A farming cooperative was established and through the cooperative ActionAid is training women on improved planting and seed preservation techniques. In 2009 96 women, including Afsa, were trained. After the training they each received 10kg of high quality rice seed, insecticide and fertiliser.
The rice seed was given as a loan and each recipient pledged to return 20kg of seed after their harvest so other women can benefit during the next planting season.
Afsa continues, I worked hard to plant the seeds ActionAid gave me. I sowed the seeds and reared the saplings into strong and healthy paddy plants. I knew I could expect a better harvest. And I was right. I harvested 108kg of rice which was really good. With this amount I paid back the seed loan, provided enough food for my family and had enough surplus to sell at the market to buy other food and household necessities. I also had enough seed to preserve for the next planting season.
Because of our sponsors’ significant contribution to children here, women like Afsa now have the skills and resources to provide food and other basic necessities for their children.