Changed mindset and women’s empowerment in action

Like Rehana Pervin, many female farmers of Harishpur Village of Agardari union under Shatkhira Sadar upazilla have been involved in beef fattening for years. They buy cows right after Eid-Ul-Azha in October when the price is low and then nourish the animals for almost a year in order to sell them during the next festival of Eid-Ul-Azha. The cow rearing is done mostly by women as they can take care of the cattle within their homesteads. Rehana does the same – each year she buys one or two cows, takes care of them and sells them.

When Rehana learned about the Ag Extension Project she, along with 29 other women from the area involved in beef fattening, formed the Harishpur Beef Fattening Group in October 2013. The members regularly meet to discuss beef fattening and other issues.

The group also received a day-long training from Mr. Aziz Al Mamun, DLS Upazila Livestock Officer where they learned new techniques and ideas to apply during the beef fattening process.

One particularly useful technique that Rehana learned was improved cow selection i.e. what to look for when selecting animals to purchase. Group members learned to identify healthy cows by checking the growth of the limbs, stretchiness and brightness of the skin, and other characteristics.

Though women are involved in nearly all stages of beef fattening, when it comes time to venture to the market for buying or selling, it is traditionally the male family members who go. In years past, Rehana was no exception.

But this year the scenario was different. Rehana shared what she had learned from the beef fattening training with her husband, Md. Rezaul Islam, and asked him to look into matters carefully before purchasing any cattle. After hearing this from her, he replied that, as she was a member of the beef fattening group, and had received training and learned new things, she should actually join him at the market. Rehana accompanied her husband this year for the first time ever. Though they were greeted at the market with stares and expressions of surprise, she applied what she had learned and bought a good, healthy beef cow. She was quite happy with the whole experience as she was able to make her own choice.

Rehana sold her cow for a much higher price than last year during this Eid.