Case study

Case study of a local soil testing service provider

A Success Story of Safiq as Soil Testing Service Provider


S L Safiq, son of Md.Jasim Uddin Sha, lives in Talpukur village,Chirir Bandar upazilla in Dinajpur District with fourfamily members.He has four acres of cultivable land and is also a social worker involved with agriculture farming. At present his main source of income is agriculture.

During that meeting an agriculturist mentioned aboutsoil testing, its importance in environmental stability and soil conservation.He attended ALRD partners quarterly meeting for the next time where again they discussed about the soil testing issue. Then he became interested about soil testing business and received training from ERAS and Aprokashi. However, he could notcontinue the business succesffully during his nine-month business period. He received only four soil samplesfor test, as thelocal farmers were not aware about the benefit of the soil testing. He failed to continue his soil testing business and returned the soil testing kit to ERAS.

iDE-B started STEP in Safiq’s union in 2012.The main aim of STEP was to increase the income of poor rural households by reducing their overall crop production costs, increasing productivity through providing them technical information (soil testing service) and ensure their participation in commercial markets through establishing soil testing service providers at the community. The project implementation strategy was developed through an in-depth value chain analysis which highlighted gaps in the market system and thus identified entry points for iDE-B to support target groups.

iDE-B field team communicated with Safiq,informd him about the goal and objective of the STEP and he was interested to do this business again. After he successfully competed the technical and business management trainings, Safiq was selected for “Soil testing entrepreneur Development” training by iDE-B and ERAS. He invested BDT 45,000 to purchase soil testing kit and set up a lab at Kishan bazar, Dinajpur sadar upazilla under Dinajpur District and started his soil testing business in October 2012. He made the community farmers aware about availability of the soil testing service at local level through micking, poster and leaflet distribution, drumming and video show display at different hat bazars and communities with the support of STEP. He also attended one agro-fair “The Adibasi krishi charcha mela” at Kisanbazar, Dinajpur sadar. The parliamentary member of Dinajpur sadar, Municipal Chairman Dinajpur, DAE officials and 4,000 community farmers visited the Soil testing entrepreneur business stall during the fair. Honorable MP, Municipal Chairman, DAE officials encouraged him to start the low cost soil testing business at the farmers door-steps, the community farmer were also happy to receive the service.

Safiq prepared one year business plan with the support of iDE-B for soil testing business. He selected 10 soil collectors who were engaged with soil sample collection from the community farmers and also trained them on how to collect the soil sample properly from the farmers land. He motivated farmers about the benefits of the soil testing. Now he charges BDT 200 per soil sample test to farmers, which included BDT 90 taka /sample and BDT 20 for soil collectors as commission. BDT 25 is for soil tester and BDT 65 is the retention for him. After soil test result, he provides fertilizer recommendations to farmers for different crops.

To stimulate demand for soil testing service at community level he has setup five demonstration plots of “soil testing technology”, out of which one was supported by STEP and the others with his own investment. He also conducted FFD with presence of UAO during production season to share the results. The community farmers were happy to know the soil tested demo farms result and are committed to go with soil testing from the next crop cultivation season.

Table1: Calculation of investment and income (November 2012-March 2013)


No of Soil sample tested


Net Income (BDT)

Soil Testing




As it can be seen in the above table, Safiq’s net income from soil-testing alone in five months is BDT 37,440.00, i.e. his per month income from the soil testing business is BDT 7,440 (according to Safiq, he started his business  a bit late during last season, however from the next season he could test average 150 sample per month from where he could earn 150 x 65= BDT 9,750 per month) which is helpful to sustain his soil testing business and within one year period he could fully recover his investment.

Safiq is very happy about his business. He says “I received well packaged support for my business needs -like technical training, business planning, which enabled me to run my business effectively and also sustainably. This has indeed resulted in the success of my business”.