Effective use of micro credit at Dhangoan Talpara
by Sohel Islam
The soil at Thakurgoan is not fertile owing to its sandy character. The Pakistan regime had initiated a project and installed a good number of deep tube-wells in this area for the farmers to obtain substantial production from their harvests. Compared to that time, the real picture at present has changed a lot. With the increase of population, the demand for maximum utilisation of the land has increased manifold over the years. Besides many villages around the area did not fall under the deep tube-wells and despite putting up every effort, poor villagers of these areas could not produce expected crops owing to lack of water.

Dhangoan Talpara at thakurgoan is one such area where acute shortage of water has had tremendous impact on the crops. In addition, poverty and other constrains did not permit the villagers to purchase necessary devices to improve the fertility of the soil. That is why they could never reap the maximum benefit out of their land until the RDRS (Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service) credit programme for agriculture came to them. After carefully examining the nitty-gritty of the prohramme, Kiron, Poban,Akash Bala, and Kosholya first showed their interest to bye a shallow machine to give their farm production a big boost. The price of each shallow machine was Taka 4000 and the monthly installment was Taka 635 for 2 years. Four of them have repaid their loan with the interest to the RDRS on time.

Like Kiron, Poban, Akash Bala and Kosholaya, few others from the village also took the opportunity to obtain credit service of the RDRS to yield good harvest through using shallow machine. Now four such machines (lent by the RDRS) are in operation in the village. During the dry season, their own villagers do not only hire these machines but also by the inhabitants outside their area. The rate of the machine is Taka 500 per bigha for a season. This water-pumping machine has proved to be a very good investment for them.

Apart from shallow machine project, the RDRS has provided to the villagers micro credit facilities like cattle farming, vegetable cultivation, fisheries, adult and non-formal education and many kinds of training facilities related to credit facilities.

Every member of Dhangoan RDRS Women Group have used these credit facilities and changed his/her lives from respective project. Explaining the status of this group, an official of RDRS said, "Dhangoan Women Group, which has 16 members, came into being in 1993. As we all know, in such credit programme, each has to deposit five taka each week. Their total deposit from savings is now Taka 17,500. Credit disbursed by our organisation is Taka 386,000, and out of the total credit amount, they have already repaid Taka 3,60,000 with any fault.

At a first glance, this amount of money may seem to be meagre to be have a positive impact on their livelihood. But this credit facility has brought tremendous amount confidence to survive in the world with due respect and status.

Gita Rani, a middle aged women took Taka 10,000 from RDRS and invested the money in vegetable cultivation. Due to lack of money, before the credit facilities, the land belonging to her was not utilised for a number of month in a year. Fishery is another area where she is trying to excel. In addition, a training programme on vegetable cultivation has broadened her horizon about many aspects, which were unknown to her. "I used to act as maid servant at Thakurgoan which is 12 kilometers away from my village. It was a strenuous job and my children barely got enough food from my earnings. I could not think about the education of my children. My husband and I, he is a daily labourer, never dreamt of our children obtaining school education. Now we can assert that our children will not embrace the same fate we faced in the earlier years."

Banesa Begum, another member of the group, was interested in growing cattle. She bought a cow with the money she borrowed from RDRS. Like Banesa, many other women expressed their gratitude for the Poshu Pusti (Nutritious Food for Cattle) supplied by the RDRS. This cattle feed has helped enhance the production of milk. She paid the money back from the sale of milk and now owns the cow and a calf. The cow has again got pregnant. Banesa expects the members of her cattle family will be three next if everything goes in her favour.

"At present, the price of milk is on the decrease. There is no modern preservation system in the area, so we don’t get reasonable return from our milk.

Now we’re thinking of sending our product to a milk-processing centre. We’ve talked to the authority of RDRS and they have assured us to do something in this regard," said Banesa Begum.

With the use of micro credit and the gradual infrastructural development in the area, the lifestyle of the rural areas like Dhangoan Talpara is changing towards the better tomorrow. During a visit to these areas, it is revealed that the villagers seemed to be determined to work hard on more and more economic well being. With the assistance and proper guidance from the Non Government Organisations like RDRS, the in habitants of the area will stand on their own feet.

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