Industry

Direct access to main market helps create 6,000 women entrepreneurs

DHAKA Shirin Begum, an woman entrepreneur of

Bogura, now earns Taka 15,000 to Taka 20,000 in a month. She invests this

money for education and beautiful future of her children.

If rural women become self-reliant economically, they could be saved

from repression in one hand, while the earnings of both wife and husband

bring prosperity to the family on the other hand, Shirin Begum said.

There are such a huge number of rural women entrepreneurs in different

areas of the country who are working on market management after receiving

training through various non-government organisations.

Action Aid Bangladesh, a non-government organisation, recently arranged

the national colloquium in the capital's Gulshan on market management with

the participation of the women of different districts.

Another woman entrepreneur Halima Begum said she started vegetable

farming through the training of the Making Market Work for Women Project of

the Action Aid.

Later, in cooperation of local administration and Action Aid, she has

been able to earn money by selling the vegetables through three collection

points.

Experts at the function said the rural women have huge potentials of

becoming entrepreneurs in one hand, while they have also to face various

obstacles on the other hand.

To ensure economic empowerment for the women, a safe and female-friendly

market is a must, they said, adding their participation in the market system

will have to be ensured side by side.

At the function, Rashida Begum, who hails from Patuakhali, narrated her

story of sufferings in selling her products in the local markets.

Previously there was no scope of direct selling of the agriculture

products in the main market due to the influence of the middlemen. As a

result the farmers and entrepreneurs were deprived of getting the fair prices

of their products.

But that situation is being changed gradually as the government has

taken various steps for ensuring fair prices of the products of the farmers

and entrepreneurs.

In this connection, Rashida Begum demanded of the government to ensure

fair prices of the products of the female farmers by creating a direct link

between the main market system and them.

Director of the Department of Livestock Dr Sheikh Azizur Rahman said

there is no scope for denying the contributions of the women to the country's

advancement.

Our department is always active to provide support to the women

entrepreneurs, he said.

Dr Rahman said there is a huge scope for working in the dairy sector

alongside the poultry industry by the female entrepreneurs. However,

strengthening the marketing of their products is very much needed, he said.

Putting emphasis on creating awareness among the entrepreneurs about the

issue as well as raising their skill, Dr Rahman said only the government

initiatives are not enough, the private initiatives are also needed in this

regard.

World Vision Programme Director Tony M Gomes said the country is

advancing fast economically, and women empowerment and positive change of

their mindset are playing a role behind this.

This change takes place through the participation of the women in the

economic activities, he observed.

Gomes said outlook of the people will have to be changed to ensure

economic uplift of the country. Apart from this, the greater participation

and equality of the women in economic activities will have to be ensured and

market system will have to be made women-friendly.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SKS Foundation Russel Ahmed Liton said

due to lack of proper environment and facilities, the rural women do not have

direct access to the main market though they have an interest in this regard.

Though they had skills, they could not know how they will earn money

and become self-reliant economically by utilising that skills, he said.

Liton said to solve this problem his organisation has undertaken a

programme to set up a link between the women entrepreneurs and markets and

banks.

He said through this programme, women entrepreneurs have been created in

nearly 1000 families.

They not only ensured their own empowerment, they also created scope of

employments for others, the SKS CEO said, adding as a result the living

standard of over six thousand families has developed significantly.

Action Aid Country Director Farah Kabir said the women of Bangladesh are

more conscious and more active in improving their condition. But they lack

adequate market management, she said.

Kabir thinks that both the public and private sectors will have to work

simultaneously so that the rural agriculture entrepreneurs, especially

females one, get proper environment and they can directly take part in the

market management.

She said Action Aid's Making Market Work for Women Project has been

working so that the women entrepreneurs can run their business smoothly and

without any hindrance.

Kabir said at the last stage of the four-year scheme, imparting training

to the women on market literacy, trade, account management and other subjects

has been completed.

Besides, she said, the female entrepreneurs have been made aware of

nutrition, safe sex and reproductive health.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)