Salma Sultana receives Norman E Borlaug Award by Rockefeller Foundation

Dr Salma Sultana, founder chairman of the Model Livestock Advancement Foundation, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Norman E Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application, endowed by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Published : 14 Oct 2020, 05:17 AM
Updated : 14 Oct 2020, 05:17 AM

Sultana is recognised for her innovative model providing veterinary outreach, treatment and education to thousands of small-scale farmers in Bangladesh, The World Food Prize said in a statement. She founded Bangladesh’s first vocational training institute to educate hundreds of livestock service providers and create sustainable employment opportunities, especially for women and young people.

Sultana received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Chittagong Veterinary & Animal Sciences University in 2010.  She expanded her studies by undertaking postgraduate training in India at Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. Sultana returned to CVASU and earned a master’s degree in pharmacology in 2014.

She realised the significant gap between the availability of and demand for livestock treatment in the rural and peri-urban areas of Bangladesh, where farmers’ livelihoods are heavily dependent on their livestock. Lacking access to trained veterinary practitioners and affordable veterinary treatments, farmers frequently called on untrained village doctors or treated animals on their own.

To address the struggles faced by small scale livestock producers across Bangladesh, Sultana founded the Model Livestock Institute in Dhaka in 2014. The first of its kind in the country, the Model Livestock Institute is a vocational livestock training centre.

The mission of the Institute is to train livestock service providers to increase the number of providers and the quality of service. The centre offers advanced certificate programmes, short-term training and need-based training, focusing especially on training women and youth. Their efforts to date have produced more than 500 youth entrepreneurs and 100 livestock service providers.

Realising the profound need for emergency veterinary services, Sultana next founded the Model Livestock Institute Veterinary Hospital offering multiple services, including treatment, surgery, and vaccinations of livestock, pets and birds, farm visits and more.

In 2018, the Hospital developed VetSheba, a call centre and online service that farmers can use to speak directly to a doctor or expert consultant and be referred to receive a check-up from a livestock health service provider in their area.

Sultana is providing new assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing livestock feed supplements. She also started the “Safe and Green Bazaar,” which collects and disinfects animal products from farmers whose supply chains were disrupted, and then delivers those products to consumers who order online.

The wide variety of efforts championed by Sultana, from veterinary care and research to farmer outreach and public education, have improved the lives of thousands of individuals through employment, empowerment and improved nutrition.

Sultana daily answers Dr Norman Borlaug’s call to “take it to the farmer.”