'A Dream Come True'

How women entrepreneurs are transforming food security in Bangladesh

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.

Moushumi Akhter

Moushami Akhter
Khonjonpur, Mission Bangabandhu Para, Joypurhat

“I am truly grateful for the help and knowledge I received from the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) and the project. They showed me how amazing Bt brinjal can be! Now, by growing and selling these seedlings, I can give people brinjal that is tasty and free from harmful pesticides.’’

Her success has inspired other women in her area to cultivate their own crops using seeds from her nursery. Women in her area are now utilizing unused fields and cultivable spaces around their houses to grow crops using seeds from her nursery, providing fresh vegetables for their families and additional income. 

“I feel really proud to see how my success has made other women in our community excited. They are turning unused spaces into beautiful gardens. It’s helping them earn more money,” she says. “I feel honored to have gained respect in our community. It’s amazing to know that we are supporting and encouraging each other.”

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