Behind The Scene
Ayub Hossain, the Neglected Dying
Hero of Organic Farming
An individual, who has so far literally spent himself towards the cause of alleviating poverty and establishing rights of poor farmers and their community from the rural areas in order to ensure food security for the whole nation, is being neglected as he fights for his life. Ayub Hossain's body plays host to a number of serious diseases and ailments that has forced him to be bedridden for the past few years. He has been left neglected in his home village since the past four months.
Ayub was born to Kodbhanu Begum and Abu Baker Sikder from the Kotorakandi village under Bagherpara Upazila in Jessore. In later life he was a part of the Communist Party of Bangladesh and had played a vital role as an organizer in the liberation movement of 1971.
Ayub Hossain had always been a visionary. During his life as a student, he had always looked for ways to free the poor farmers from the greedy clutches of the mahajans. Later on his fight turned towards chemical fertilizer and pesticide companies and political leaders in the rural areas. Ayub always dreamt of changing the fates of the vulnerable farmers by changing the pattern of the farming methods from a chemical based one to a natural organic method. He believed, and still does to this day, that the farmers should be educated in the natural and organic science of farming so as to “learn the true language of the soil and crop”, and steer free from polluting the soil with chemicals and pesticides. His dream portrayed natural and organic food for the whole nation.
Ayub Hossain started pursuing his dreams with the help of another agricultural hero, Omar Ali, in village Moheshwarchanda in Kaliganj, Jhenaidah. Working together with the villagers for a few years, they had succeeded in turning the village into a self-sufficient one, in terms of food production. At the same time, he had also worked with the farmers from neighboring villages of Bandabila, Nimta, and Kotorakandi. He had organized movements against the use of chemicals and pesticides for farming during this period with the help of the farmers. He was successful in convincing the farmers and all the villagers to see that the chemicals and pesticides used for farming were not only harmful to the surrounding nature and creatures, but toxic to humans as well. On top of all the harm, the methods were not cost effective, and thus the only option was to revert back to organic farming. Later, with the help of the farmers from theses three villages he formed the BANIK Krishi Club where the farmers pledged to use organic methods only while farming for any crops.
Ayub knew that this would not be enough in achieving his dream. Something greater had to be done in order to ensure sustainability of what he had started. Thusly, he had contacted a number of government and semi-government organizations, research institutes, extension departments and affiliated individuals in the field from both home and abroad. Handful of scientists had also visited the three villages several times, and with their help and guidance the three villages in combination became the Beej PrajuktiPally where farmers to this day produce organic and high yielding seeds on their lands.
Amongst noted people who have praised Ayub Hossain for his achievements, Dr. Gul Hossain said Ayub had turned the rural villages to revolutionary villages of green vegetables with the use of organic technologies. Dr. Syed Nurul Alam, Chief Scientific Officer of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, gives credit to Ayub Hossain for introducing the Pheromone Trap and Integrated Pest Management, which are being used in croplands in Bagherpara Jessore, villages of Jessore Sadar, Salikha Magura, and Kaliganj Jhenaidah. Dr. Alam says that consumers from Dhaka, Faridpur, Barishal and parts of Chittagong are consuming organic vegetables on a daily basis at convenient prices. He added, Ayub Hossain is the only man in the country who had arranged meetings between scientists, extension activists and farmers to work for the agricultural industry jointly. Ayub should be cured for the interest of the people if nothing else.
Ayub Hossain's son Babul informed the Daily Star of the great individual's sufferings. He said Ayub has been suffering from heart blockage, Lung problems, Diabetes and other serious complications that have been threatening his life on a daily basis for the past four months and has crippled him totally. A lot of money is needed towards his treatment and to bear medicine costs. He is dependent on his family for such costs, but his family itself is not so well off to provide for his dire needs. Babul says the current situation is pushing his father towards certain death with every passing moment.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009