Rezaul Karim Siddique
This profile was prepared when Rezaul Karim Siddique was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Rezaul Karim Siddique sees the rearing of hybrid cattle as an underdeveloped but potentially important method of bringing economic self-reliance to landless farmers, providing jobs for unemployed youth, and decreasing the high infant and child mortality rates caused by malnutrition.The majority of rural Bangladeshis do not have access to arable land. Given the scarcity of arable land, cattle rearing provides an alternative form of subsistence for poor families. In their spare time after agricultural cultivation, family members can raise and rear one or two hybrid cows or goats. The benefits are numerous; the children receive adequate nourishment and the parents can sell the milk and milk products. By helping introduce hybrid cattle and giving practical demonstrations of how a poor family can care for them, Rezaul has put cattle and goat farming within the reach of most Bangladeshi families. These breeds are less susceptible to disease than other breeds being used and require less food to grow and thrive.On a larger scale, Rezaul's work to encourage cattle raising will increase local supplies of protein rich dairy products and meat and reduce Bangladesh's expenditures on imported powdered milk and meats.