On a foggy winter morning in early February, smallholder farmers in the Jessore district of Bangladesh contributed to a hectic and previously unusual sight.
Some farmers sorted produce under a large shed adjacent to a vast field of crops. Others eagerly bargained with the very buyers who, not long ago, wouldn’t have bothered to come out on a morning like this.
“We used to struggle a lot to take our products to market in foggy or rainy days (before) the establishment of this collection center,” said farmer Nizam Uddin, while sorting his tomatoes. “(Now) this is an everyday affair during this season.”
“In pick season, the place is so crowded that you cannot stand here.”
The Birnarayanpur village, in the Sadar upazila, is well known throughout the region for high yields; yet farmers struggled to make a profit because of a poor supply chain. Before the Winrock-implemented Cold Chain Bangladesh Alliance (CCBA) set up this collection center, farmers spent far too much time and money to take their crops to the market because of terrible road conditions.
“There were days when we cut our crops, but could not sell them as we could not take them to market. But things have changed. Now the buyers come to (us),” says Mofidul Molla, another area farmer.
At the collection center, farmers can sort, grade, clean and package their crops and, most importantly, sell directly to the buyers. From October to December 2015, nearly 300 metric tons of vegetables were sold, generating approximately USD
54,398 in revenue for the farmers. Buyers also benefit from the increased accessibility of their basic necessities and the availability of large numbers of farmers.
CCBA, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development, has set up eight collection centers and dozens of aggregation points in nine regions of Bangladesh.