Moushumi Akhter has many dimensions to her identity: farmer, teacher, mother. And now, entrepreneur.
With the help of the Feed the Future Insect-Resistant Eggplant Partnership, Moushumi has become a successful nursery entrepreneur who provides fruit, flower, and vegetable seedlings to farmers in her district of Joypurhat, Bangladesh.
The success of her business has allowed her to become financially independent and provide extra support for her children’s education.
“Being able to provide my children with a better education is a dream come true,” Moushumi says. “Thanks to my success as an entrepreneur, I can now offer them the opportunities they deserve.’’
Among the most popular seedlings she sells is Bt brinjal, a bio-engineered eggplant that is resistant to the Eggplant Fruit and Shoot Borer (EFSB), a ravenous insect that destroys eggplant fields throughout South Asia.
Bt brinjal is particularly popular among farmers in Joypurhat due to its high yield and resistance to EFSB, which eliminates the need for pesticides. Moushumi first learned about Bt brinjal from the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI). Since then, she has been growing and selling the seedlings to local farmers.
Bt brinjal has many benefits for farmers and consumers, as they require fewer pesticides, reduce health risks and environmental damage, and are fresh and delicious, Moushumi says.