A Resilient Future

How women entrepreneurs are transforming food security in Bangladesh

Raising two young daughters in the Jashore region of Bangladesh quickly strained household resources for Anima Biswas and her husband. In 2015, to earn extra income and provide fresh vegetables for her family, Anima began cultivating a small plot of land near her house. Her hard work supplemented income from her husband’s small business and supported the education of her daughters.

That foray into farming sparked something else in Anima: a desire to grow a business of her own and achieve independence in her finances.

“Every time I dig the soil and plant seeds on my farm, it’s because I am determined to create a better life for my daughters,” Anima says. “Day by day, I work hard not only to grow crops but also to create opportunities for them. I want to give them a life full of possibilities.”

With support from the Feed the Future Insect-Resistant Eggplant Partnership, she is transforming her business into new areas of agriculture. Last year, the 38-year-old expanded her business to include a nursery service where she supplies seedlings to other farmers.

Anima Biswas

Anima Biswas
Natuapara Jashore Sadar, Jashore

One of her most popular offerings is Bt brinjal. Anima first heard about the genetically engineered crop in 2016 and its resistance to the eggplant fruit and shoot borer, a major pest for brinjal. Non-Bt brinjal typically suffers from significant yield loss, with routinely a quarter of the harvest being lost to pest attacks.

“By using Bt brinjal, farmers can reduce health risks and save both time and money. Thus, it is an environmentally friendly and healthy choice,” Anima says.

Anima aims to educate farmers about the benefits of this variety, such as the reduced need for costly pesticides to control fruit and shoot borer infestations. Farmers can use limited amounts of less-expensive pesticides to manage less-harmful pests, resulting in significant savings of both time and money.

Discover more about other women entrepreneurs involved in the Feed the Future Insect-Resistant Eggplant Partnership