Guest Profile

Mr. Shykh Seraj

General Information
Mr. Shykh Seraj
Eminent Media Personality & Agriculture Development Activist.
Founder Director & Head of News, Impress Telefilm Limited/ Channel-i.

Shykh Seraj – the informer, a renowned Bangladeshi journalist and agriculture development activist is the man behind the historic revolution in the agriculture sector of Bangladesh, who empowered the sector through media i.e. informing rural people about agricultural techniques, new crop varieties, agro-markets, organizing farmers’ union, farmers’ budget and sporting event, running farmer health camps, and above all who gave them a voice for their fundamental rights.Born in 1956 in Chandpur District of Bangladesh at the mighty banks of Meghna river, this unique journalist was later brought up in Dhaka. He completed the post-graduation in Geography from Dhaka University.

Shykh Seraj started his career of Development Journalism in 1982. He started with his agricultural programme Mati O Manush (Soil and Men) in Bangladesh Television (BTV), the only TV channel operating in the country then. It continued until 1996. Thereafter, since 2004 he started his other programme Hridoye Mati O Manush (Soil & Men in the Heart) on another TV channel named “Channel I”. He later added more diversified programmes in 2005 like Hridoye Mati O Manusher Daak (Mailbox of Soil & Men in the Heart) on Channel i and Krishi Dibanishi (Agriculture: Round the Clock) in 2007 on BTV. Since, March 2010, he started ‘Soil & Men in Heart’, yet another TV agro-documentary on TV Southasia. Shykh Seraj is the editor of a weekly agricultural page, Mati O Manusher Krishi (Agriculture of Soil & Men).

He is a down to earth, very hard-working, innovative journalist and committed to improving lives of millions of farmers whom he claims `the real architects’ of rural Bangladesh. His pioneering contribution towards increasing public awareness of all aspects of agriculture and development in both the electronic and print media is quite exceptional and revolutionary.With almost three decades of experience in the Bangladesh media, Mr. Seraj has worked as a television and print journalist, presenter and producer in many television programmes, exploring the problems faced by farmers and rural communities. It has been said that his programmes ‘give voice’ to farmers by bringing their problems to the attention of policy-makers and government.

Before 1990, merely there were any commercial poultry farms. After Shykh’s strong television campaign Bangladesh now has 0.1 million commercial poultry farms, worth 1482 million pounds (approx), involving some 5 million people. He boosted up the fisheries sector which now has some 0.15 million commercial fish-farms involving at least more than 4 million people and has turned out to be an industry, with forward and backward linkage, worth 1917 million pounds (approx). Shykh Seraj brought new dimension in spreading the message of fish-farming in household-adjacent ponds through his most popular narrative, ‘Hakim Ali’s Fish Farm’. He brought the idea of roof-top gardening and vegetable farming which spread around urban areas quite extensively.Shykh has successfully informed rural farmers, both men and women, about new agro-inputs and technologies, how they should adopt and adapt to the new agricultural methods, harvest techniques and enlightened them with the information of new crops through his never-ending development journalistic mission. He brought latest news on agricultural development from around the world and has worked as an international development journalist.

Shykh Seraj is effectively working on climate change and its effects over agriculture and their remedies. He has worked very closely to reduce the usage of pesticides and promoted bio-pesticides for the cause of soil health. Farmers are now well aware around Bangladesh. He has promoted farmers’ indigenous knowledge and also scientific advancements made by Bangladeshi scientists. He is a strong voice against saline water shrimp farming and tobacco aggression over the arable lands and has went a long way with his investigative reports to unveil the truth in front of the people. That’s why government had to take its measure to stop the miscreants officially.His coverage on saline-water shrimp cultivation in the southern zone (Dakop) was a milestone. He showed how the unauthorized entry of saline water through the sluices devastates cultivable lands. Such practices are now prohibited by the law-enforcement and also discouraged by the agrarian society. His campaign against water-logging in the mid south-west (Bhobodoho, Monohorgonj) has resulted in concerted efforts by the public and the private sector in turning zones from extreme poverty and despair to prosperity and hope.

Shykh Seraj highlighted the sub-sectors of agriculture which no journalist ever did in Bangladesh. He inspired poultry, dairy and fisheries sector, predominantly. Of course, he boosted the homestead gardening in accordance with the government. Millions of unemployed youth and women started earning money, working at home with the homestead, micro-gardening, poultry and fish farming- Shykh’s relentless inspirational documentaries made this possible. During the early 90s, working hand in hand with the government, Shykh gave this new genre of agriculture a new hope. From 10000 farmers within a year 150000 farmers got involved with vegetable gardening on their homeyards.

He cheered up marginal-rural farmers through his ever-delightful farmers’ game shows (Krishoker Eid Anondo/Krishoker Boishakhi Anondo- Farmers’ Eid Delight/Farmers’ Boishakhi Delight). He enlivened marginal farmers through arranging Farmers’ World Cup Cricket right before the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 so that 110 million people (That is farmers) in the entire population of 160 million could also take part in the real spirit of cricket.Focusing on community leadership, he has successfully organized Firey Chol Matir Taney (Returning to Roots)- facebook.com/returningtorootsl), a real-life-experience programme where students from universities participate in a three-day agricultural campaign to work as farmers/farm-labours and live a life of a farmer for these three days. This initiative has really given full spirit to the youth group of Bangladesh who now wants to contribute to the development of Bangladesh in a meaningful and effective way. All the participants are recognized as ‘Hridoye Mati O Manush Fellow’.

Farmers in Bangladesh are always baffled with the intermediaries where they lose most of the profit for their produce. Shykh Seraj introduced two of the most effective initiatives: Green Bridge (The first cooperative society of farmers, initiated by a media personality, where farmers are no longer cheated as they’ve become united) and a website, titled, www.krishimarket.com (Where farmers can sell their products online without the interference of middlemen- uploading pictures and price of their products absolutely for free).With his very own initiative, Shykh went to many regions of the country to see the potentiality of bio gas plant and how it could come into real effect for the people of Bangladesh. With the remains of the livestock animals and poultry drops, when farmers started producing biogas, Shykh was the first person beside them to lift this on media so that others can follow and become successful. This remarkable ‘alternative energy’ movement not only helped the rural-marginal farmers, but also the whole Bangladesh.

Shykh Seraj’s is the first journalist who made us understand the idea that farming is not only for the villagers but also for city-dwellers. He single handedly revolutionized the idea of ‘micro-gardening’ and had spread it everywhere around the cities.Rooftop gardening (Micro gardening) was a dream for any urban dwellers of the country. However, Shykh made it to veracity. Many household women started doing rooftop gardening. They used to cultivate vegetables and other fruits on their rooftops. Vegetables were cultivated only during winter season. But, he changed the core idea and people of all age, gender and class, started doing it on their rooftops through the year. Nobody knew that a concrete building could ever produce green vegetables. Through Shykh’s relentless efforts, even the household women started expanding their views on agriculture and they contributed to this sector while meeting up their own demands.For the purpose of 12-month cultivation, Shykh Seraj started a campaign in the schools, known as, ‘Educational vegetable farming on school-yards’. There were plots where the students used to cultivate. In this programme, round-the-year cultivation was boosted. Government assisted Shykh Seraj in this project. The motto of this programme was to inspire the young students who might go back at their home to inspire their parents to go for farming in future. This idea was a far-sighted vision of Shykh Seraj, which really has worked. Today, we can see the output of the project while many parents took agriculture as a profession to enhance agricultural production and their lives.

Issues like farmers’ health were so appealing that a modern hospital (Japan-Bangladesh Friendship Hospital) in the capital offered to run field clinics and also agreed to offer free of cost health service to farmers (Krishoker Shasthya Sheba- Farmers’ Health Service). Teams of doctors visit remote communities, targeting the rural marginal poor, to help meet their primary health care needs, who are otherwise devoid of basic health care. Another campaign called Jibon Kheya (Life-ferry) aims to provide treatment to critically ill poor farmers from fatal diseases like cancer. So far, with Farmers’ Health Service initiative more than 20000 farmers were treated, free of cost.

Shykh Seraj is effectively working on climate change and its effects over agriculture and their remedies. He has worked very closely to reduce the usage of pesticides and promoted bio-pesticides for the cause of soil health. Farmers are now well aware around Bangladesh. He has promoted farmers’ indigenous knowledge and also scientific advancements made by Bangladeshi scientists. He is a strong voice against saline water shrimp farming and tobacco aggression over the arable lands and has went a long way with his investigative reports to unveil the truth in front of the people. That’s why government had to take its measure to stop the miscreants officially.Strawberry, Dragon Fruit, Auger, Bee farming- whatever be the agricultural product, Shykh Seraj has thorough work on the product and has brought out the goods to the farmers and people around the country so that they can develop and Bangladesh can make its place in the world with diversified agriculture.

Shykh introduced a live broadcast, enabling farmers to join his programmes from remote areas and is currently working to break the digital divide by setting up an e-agriculture initiative (www.ekrishi.com) to disseminate agricultural information to an ever wider audience.Through his uploaded videos on the internet, many people, living in home and abroad, can take the best input for their farming as well- youtube.com/shykhseraj.

Reuters Reporter and Producer Jennifer Marostica rightly said in her news report when she came to Bangladesh that Shykh Seraj has revolutionized fates of at least 100 million people in the country (Bangladesh) through his journalistic mission.With Ashoka Fellowship, Ekushey Padak, FAO A.H. Boerma, BCA Golden Jubilee Honour Awards, House of Commons Honourary Crest. Shykh Seraj has received more than hundred awards.

Seraj, lit the faces of farmers from all castes and creeds whom he’s said to have given a ‘voice’-Yet, miles to go…

Bangladesh sees the dream of development, through this Changemaker, Shykh Seraj.

To learn more visit : www.shykhseraj.com

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