Around 150 students in Sherpur, Bogura, are making profits by rearing deshi (local breed) chickens at their own rooftops or backyards.
Dr Mohammad Rayhan, a veterinary surgeon of the Sherpur Livestock Office, provides technical support to these students, and 900 other farmers. In 2015, he started the initiative, "Shwapno Chhowar Shiri", to promote farming. Today, there are 1,000 local breed chicken farms across the 30 villages of Sherpur, according to him. He established a training centre, where he educates nearly 3,000 young entrepreneurs about poultry farming. For his contribution, Dr Mohammad Rayhan received the Public Administration Award in 2019.
Nur Nahar Akter Sweety, 27, resides in Darkipara village. A master's student of Political Science at Govt Azizul Haque College, she currently earns BDT 10,000 to BDT 12,000 monthly, from her farm. She uses the profitstowards her clothing shop set up at her home, from which she additionally earns BDT 5,000 to BDT 8,000 per month.
Sweety was married when she was a twelfth grader. Initially, she was very shy to talk about her educational expenses with her life partner. "I overcame financial struggles that I had faced in my early life. Now, I can help my family with my own earnings," she said.Sweety started her farm in her backyard in 2015, when she learned that many of her neighbours were earning a living in this way.
Zakaria Zakir, 22, a resident of Dhormokam village, is a Zoology student from Govt Azizul Haque College. His monthly income is BDT 30,000 to BDT 40,000. He started out with 25 hens, and now, he has 800 hens in his farm. To expand his business, Zakaria, along with a couple of his neighbours, locally built an incubator for hatching eggs, in 2019. Every week, they receive around 10,000 eggs, and sell them at BDT 3 to BDT 4 each.
These students acknowledged that local breed chickens are immensely profitable – they require little care, food, and space. Their meat and eggs are also priced higher, than those of broilers and layers.
Inspired by Zakir, Sohel Ahmed, another master's student from Chakpalia village, started rearing local breed chickens near his home, on a small area of land. He makes BDT 8,000 to BDT 10,000 per month. "It is very hard for fresh graduates to find jobs around here. I started this small venture to be an entrepreneur and reduce my hardships after I receive my master's degree," he said.