Safe vegetables cart: How NICE helps Omar sell more nutritious vegetables
Omar Faruk is a hard-working vegetable seller in the Bangladesh a city of Dinajpur.
We really do not know what we eat, if I can provide safe and nutritious vegetables for my customers then I am really doing good work for the people of my community. Hence, I try to handpick all the vegetables for my customers to ensure their health and nutrition. Moreover, I received training in safe food production which also assisted me to learn more about the nutritional value of the food and provide it.Omar
In March 2023, life took a turn for the better when Omar acquired a durable replacement of the van through the NICE project. The vegetable van is designed in such a way that it can help to display the vegetables properly to attract the customers. It can also carry more vegetables in an organized manner. The van has good aeration system with no clogging resulting in increased the shelf life of the vegetables. The vegetables remain fresh when fresh water is spilled on them ensuring the safety of the vegetables by maintain the hygiene. Besides, there is an automated weighing scale on the vegetable van that results in proper measurement of the vegetables for the city buyers. Moreover, using plastic crates reduces the wastage of the vegetables due to smooth finishing and helps to pass the air. There is also an umbrella where regulated heat management does not wither the vegetables. It also assists in carrying more. Its large advertising slogan says: “From Farm to Families – Safe Vegetable Cart”.
Omar sells bitter gourd, country beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and other produce more efficiently and over a wider area. Monthly sales have increased from BDT 12,000 to 20,000 (Approx. $180). The extra income benefits all five members of his family. He can now arrange his brother’s tuition fees and allow him to study more efficiently. As well as being good for his customers, Omar’s commitment to safe and healthy food also ensures their trust and loyalty which increased his customer based upto 30% which results in no unsold perishable items. And as the van has a microphone and loudspeaker, clients always know when the friendly vegetable seller is on his way! Omar not only sources his vegetables from the city’s vegetable warehouse Bahadur Bazar but also directly from two NICE Nutrition Farmers’ Hub named Maljhar Farmers’ Hub and Dighon Farmers’ Hub which are situated near Dinajpur city. He collects seasonal vegetables like brinjal and tomatoes from these Farmers’ Hubs. Amid all the bustle, he carefully selects produce that is grown safely following low doses of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. From the new opportunities and Omar’s unwavering determination enabled him to serve more customers and double his sales. He kept the vegetables affordable for his community that he wouldn’t raise his prices.
Looking ahead, Omar is keen to involve relatives in growing his business. He also wants to provide his younger brother with educational opportunities. A further plan is to modify and automate parts of his cart. A natural entrepreneur, Omar Faruk, embraces innovation and adapts to changing market dynamics. His success so far and his future goals highlight the potential within every individual who gets the opportunity to thrive. NICE is about more than making healthy food better available in cities – important though that is. The project also helps to empower disadvantaged people in the supply chain and improves their financial situation. Omar’s journey is already an inspiring example.