An Inspiring Mentor

How women entrepreneurs are transforming food security in Bangladesh

For the local women in her neighborhood, Munnujan Begum is an inspiration.

For many years she scraped by as a plant nursery laborer to support her retired husband, a son with physical and mental disabilities, and two grandchildren. Then, an opportunity for the 65-year-old to start her own business opened new avenues for the grandmother to provide for her family. 

With support from the Feed the Future Insect-Resistant Eggplant Partnership, she launched her own plant nursery company. IREP provided rapid support to acquire polynet housing, seed distribution, funding to start and sustain her business, and training to make it a success.

“I worked really hard as a plant nursery laborer for many years, taking care of my family. But then, an amazing chance came along for me to start my own business. It changed everything and allowed me to support my family in ways I never imagined before, ” Munnujan says.

After learning about Bt brinjal she began growing seedlings and selling them to farmers and distributors. Bt brinjal’s insect-resistance, larger size, and higher profitability make the varieties in high demand, she says.

Munnujan Begum
Khonjonpur, Mission Bangabandhu Para, Joypurhat

“Bt brinjal plants are naturally insect-resistant, eliminating the need for harmful pesticides to grow them, which is beneficial to the environment and the health of those who will eventually consume these brinjals,” said Munnujan.

Many young women in the community have been inspired by Munnujan’s story to pursue their business ambitions, and some are even considering opening their own nurseries in the future.

Munnujan is proud of what she has accomplished and wants her success to inspire others to follow their interests and eliminate social stigmas.

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