In a rural area in Bangladesh, 50 kilometres from the capital Dhaka, we meet a self-made entrepreneur that creates value for his community through hard work and sustainable innovation.
In the middle of a global pandemic, the Global Alliance for Banking on Values – the network for the world’s leading values-based banks – talked with Sattar, and five other pioneers from across the globe, about their vision for a brighter future.
Why now? Sattar and projects like his farm are one of thousands of initiatives financed by values-based banks all over the planet. These banks are changing the meaning of money, putting money in the service of people and the environment. Today, on Banking on Values Day 2020 (24th November), we are celebrating these extraordinary initiatives, the individuals who run them, and the banks that finance them. You can discover how and why this matters so much.
Sattar, how did you start your farm and what was your motivation?
I was a grocer and used to run a small-scale shop at the local bazaar. I started small but always wanted to be self-sufficient and support my family better. With that in mind, I established a poultry shed in 2000, next to my house, bought my first chicks and started producing and selling eggs.
Initially, it was a side business and an additional source of income. But, as the demand and business kept growing I decided to engage in poultry full-time. Now, I have 10,000 layers producing eggs, another 10,000 broilers for meat, and 12 sheds each with a capacity to house 2,000 chickens.
As well as producing and selling eggs and meat through my business, Al Amin Poultry Layer Farm, I also work as a dealer for a poultry-feed distributor and sell poultry feed in Narsingdi, my home town. I supply to other regions in the surrounding area.
You also produce and use sustainable energy in your farm. How does that work?
I established a biogas plant at my farm back in 2009-2010 after being encouraged by a friend. The waste collected from the poultry is passed on to the digester, 12 feet underground, nearby where it is converted to gas.
This gas is then transferred to the adjacent home via an underground pipe and into the kitchen.
With the benefit of the biogas system, my farm is cleaner with little or no litter.
It has helped me manage waste in a better way and helps me cook. And it helps keep my chickens disease-free and healthy.
What do you do for the well-being of the animals?
I make sure that heaters, floor temperature, humidity, ventilation, drinkers, feeders, and other facilities are all positioned and working properly.
Of course, I also keep the sheds clean and make sure the chickens are vaccinated and fed properly and regularly.
How is the pandemic affecting you?
Demand for eggs fell and prices with it as a result of the pandemic. Prices have almost halved at times.
After a difficult few months, fortunately, business has returned to normal and now I have been able to sell at the ‘old’ prices.
How important it is for you to have the support of a values-based bank like BRAC Bank (BRAC is a co-founder of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values)?
I approached BRAC Bank for financing back in 2012, with plans to expand my business, establish more sheds and rear more layers.
With their help, I could buy 4,000 chickens initially. Over the years my business has grown and so has demand. With time, I have also been able to access more finance from BRAC Bank and still receive their support as we grow.
Your business keeps evolving. What do you envision for the future?
Over the next few years, I’d like to renovate and improve my existing sheds. I also have plans to use the biogas from my farm to bring light and generate heat for the shed.
Did you know that…
You can choose between being a customer of a conventional bank or a values-based bank.
Values-based banks deliver quality banking services, just like many other banks. But, unlike most banks, they deliberately focus on finance for entrepreneurs and positive projects in the real economy that benefit people and the environment – like Sattar, his farm and its impact in his community.
It’s time to do something for your future!
On Banking on Values Day 2020, help us make values-based banks an even more powerful force for positive change by performing one or more of these actions:
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3. Find your nearest values-based bank on our world map and become a customer.
4. Subscribe to the newsletter of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (see form below) and find out how our banks and their customers are changing the world.