Photo: Hannan at his workshop. Photo edit: Mahajabin Khan
Md. Abdul Hannan (age 29) developed his understanding of light engineering (LE) as a child, working in several workshops in Bogura. He had never received any formal education and nobody taught him how to run a light engineering business. Despite this he had had enough ambition and self-belief to enable him to start his own business making multicrop engine powered threshing machines. After opening his business in 2018 called M/S. Hannan Engineering Workshop he found it challenging to train his staff, acquire new clients, get access to finance, and market the machines. In 2020, Hannan and eight of his employees were given training in light engineering skills by the USAID Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia – Mechanization and Extension Activity (CSISA-MEA). This training proved to be so useful that it enabled his business to improve the quality and quantity of machines he manufactured. He also made his workshop a safer place to work in by implementing the occupational health and safety measures recommended by CSISA-MEA during this training. He then realized that to fully utilize this improved capacity he needed better business management and marketing skills. He was therefore delighted when CSISA-MEA offered him training on business management, communication, network building and event management skills. He also actively participated in CSISA-MEA-facilitated events that linked light engineering enterprises with banks resulting a loan from BRAC bank being negotiated. As a result of this training and technical support he made some well-informed business decisions. that included, with technical support from CSISA-MEA engineers, the purchase of a bench grinding machine and a drilling machine further improving the capacity of the business to make higher-quality products. To develop the market for his machines CSISA-MEA helped him set up a social media corporate site. This was a great success, raising the profile of his business and capturing new customers, even during the COVID-19 crisis, from all over Bangladesh. Finally, with technical support from CSISA-MEA engineers he has upgraded his Power Threshing Machine, from a one acre of crop per hour machine to a1.5 acres of crop per hour machine. This combination of new manufacturing business management and marketing skills has all resulted in production going from 70 threshers sold each year to 100 threshers sold in 2022 and income rising from USD75,000 to USD90,000. Hannan said, “It wasn’t just me who made this happen; my team and I received all of the training support from CSISA-MEA, which boosted our competence.” Hannan is an example of the more than 600 skilled workers and business owners who have received training from this mechanization initiative supported by USAID funded Feed The Future Initiative.