Volume 6 | Issue 01| January 14, 2012|


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Behind the Scene


Sweeping Poverty Away

Brooms are a constant ordinary companion of the household. But what is an ordinary tool for most also happens to be a source of decent income for rural families of Bangladesh. One such family is the Debnath family living in Jhenidah who make a living by selling hundreds of brooms every month.

Azibor Rahman

A family of four, the Debnath family of Balarampur village under Kaliganj upazila, is earning their livelihood by making brooms with sticks of Kashfool and coconut leaves. They supply brooms to retailers in Jhenidah and neighbouring districts, bagging a handsome amount in the process. The business of brooms enables the family to earn a decent living.

Banamali Kumar Debnath, 80, his son Madan Kumar Debnath, daughter Parula Rani Debnath and wife China Rani Debnath are seen busy making brooms during the day at their yard. Every Friday, they go to the Kaliganj upazila town to sell brooms in bulk to retailers. A total of 21 families of the Balarampur village make brooms and supply it to different district in Bangladesh. In total, these families sell about 2000 brooms on hat day every week.

Even the elders help make brooms

Plain tin sheets, sticks from coconut leaves and small pieces of wood are necessary for making brooms. Raw materials are cheap, so most of the selling price attributes to the cost of labour. In the rural economy, labour inputs largely determine value addition since products are handmade. The broom makers collect their raw materials from nearby woods and from different coconut trees of the village. They buy plain sheets at Tk. 115 per kg and sometimes, they buy sticks per mound at Tk. 600 to 700. A single small broom costs around Tk. 5 to produce, which is sold at Tk. 10. On the other hand the big ones cost around Tk 10 to 12 and these are sold at Tk. 20 to 25.

Wholesale buyers from different districts, such as Kushtia, Jessore and Magura, sometimes come to the Balarampur village to buy brooms and transport it to different markets in different districts. Salam Hossain, a retailer at Kaliganj town said that since he sells many brooms every week, he makes a good profit off of the product. Arobindu Ghosh, another hardware shopkeeper, conveyed the same.

Banamali Kumar Debnath said that selling brooms has allowed him to provide for his family. He has been in this vocation for forty years and thinks that the product has allowed him to earn well since it is a necessary product. “Making brooms will never see bad business. It is a constant companion of the housewife!” says Banamali.

Bamboos are an important raw material in broom making

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