Getting Certified to Sell Quality Agri-Products
Anwar Hosen, 40
Jheneidah district, Khulna, Bangladesh
Distribution channels need to be more efficient to supply seeds and fertilizer on time.
I used to sell products at my shop without any professional training. My sales were at a minimum as I had little expertise on business management.
I learned how to maintain records, how to safely organize pesticides and acquired new information to share with farmers.
In Bangladesh, a lack of awareness, availability and use of quality agricultural inputs are badly impacting higher yields of smallholder farmers, their income and food security.
“I used to sell seeds, fertilizers and crop protection products at my shop without any professional training or good knowledge about agro-inputs,” says Anwar Hosen, an agro-dealer from the Jheneidah district, Khulna.
“I did not bother about quality of the products I was selling, let alone giving good suggestions to farmers. My sales were at a minimum as I had little expertise on business management. Farmers sometimes trusted me, sometimes not, in terms of getting good suggestions on purchased inputs or solving minor problems at their fields.”
The Agro-Inputs Project (AIP), is funded by USAID under U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, and works on improving the knowledge, availability, and use of safe, high-quality agricultural inputs by agro-retailers and farmers in southern Bangladesh.
“When I came to know about AIRN, I found it useful for building networks and expanding my business with the commitment of promoting quality inputs,” says Anwar.
To increase sales by offering quality inputs and developing an earnest bond with farmers seemed innovative to me. I also learned from the training organized by AIP/AIRN how to maintain records, how to safely organize pesticides and acquired new information to share with farmers.
AIP is now training 3,000 networked retailers (including 300 women), who commit to selling quality products as well as to provide improved advice and services to farmers. Members of this network will ultimately serve one million smallholder farmers.
“I trust Anwar as he is certified by CNFA/USAID and is trained enough to guide me with basic information on quality products,” says Jahidul Islam, a farmer who buys from Anwar’s shop. “Even if I face problems in my field he is ready to walk the extra miles to consult with me. I recently followed Anwar’s suggestion while trellising my pointed gourd in the field. His advice helped me take care of the plants while plucking the vegetables. I wish every retailer would sell quality inputs to us like Anwar.”
Anwar’s calls to action:
We need more integrated approach between companies, government and other stakeholders in producing and promoting quality inputs.
The distribution channels need to be more efficient to supply inputs on time.
It is also essential to meet the demand of farmers in terms of greater access to quality products for better yields.