Grasroots Initiatives against the MNC’s agro-chemical Intervention in Agriculture

In the agricultural landscape of Bajua and Laudob Unions within Dacope Upazila of Khulna district, southwest Bangladesh, farmers were grappling with the adverse effects of extensive intervention by multinational corporations (MNCs) in the form of agro-chemicals. Farmers, enticed by promises of higher yields, had transitioned from traditional, locally adapted crops to hybrid and high-yielding varieties. However, this shift brought forth a slew of challenges including increased reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Lacking adequate knowledge, farmers fell prey to excessive chemical usage, leading to diminishing returns, ecological degradation, and health hazards.

The grassroots initiative aimed to analyze and understand the ramifications of MNCs' agro-chemical interventions on local agriculture and devise strategies for sustainable agricultural practices. Through a participatory approach involving 12 groups of farmers (6 male and 6 female) and local Union Parishads, the project sought to raise awareness about the adverse impacts of excessive chemical usage. Key activities included collecting primary and secondary data on agro-chemicals, conducting awareness campaigns, capacity building through training sessions, and fostering collaborations with relevant stakeholders such as the Department of Agriculture and government officials.

As a result of the project's interventions, significant strides were made towards mitigating the adverse effects of agro-chemical intervention. Farmers and community members became increasingly aware of the detrimental consequences of excessive chemical usage, leading to a 40% reduction in overall agro-chemical costs. By emphasizing soil and water quality assessments and promoting optimal crop variety selection, the project facilitated a shift towards sustainable agricultural practices. Consequently, not only did farmers benefit from reduced input costs, but the wider ecosystem also experienced a decrease in chemical contamination, thereby fostering a more ecologically balanced agricultural landscape