Farmers in Adbhora village were migrating to towns and cities as farming was not viable. Women in the village organised themselves into a group with the support of an NGO and are now reaping rich harvests adapting sustainable agriculture practices.
Hill farming has its own challenges – undulating topography, fragmented and scattered land holdings, poor and shallow soils prone to erosion, leading to soil degradation and more. With male members of the family migrating, women are getting engaged in agriculture.
Sanjeevani, a non-profit organization in the field of rural development, chose Adbhora village in Bhikhyasen block, Uttarakhand to promote sustainable organic agricultural practices. Sanjeevani, as part of its project, engaged 51 women farmers, with marginal and fragmented land holdings, and organised them into two groups.
Table 1: Production of vegetables
Women were trained on how to grow crops, organically. They were trained on preparing vermi compost, biodynamic compost and liquid compost (Jeevamrut) using farm wastes and cow dung. Women were also trained on biological pest and disease management.
The women groups cultivated a variety of vegetables like brinjal, cauliflower, cabbage, tomato and chilli. The seeds were treated with PSB, Trichoderma to reduce impact of fungal and bacterial diseases. Nurseries were raised and monitored and land preparation supervised. Seedlings were treated with Panchagavya before transplanting them into main field. They got improved yields of vegetables, when compared to the previous year. Their average earnings rose from Rs 47,000 per season to Rs. 86000. Also, dairy farming was promoted to enable them to get regular income.
Presently, the daily production of milk from the village is 50 litres. And, 8-10 lakhs worth of chilli is sold every year from the village. Sanjeevani, along with the Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board, is providing market linkages to the farmers so that the farm produce could be sold to the consumers without the involvement of middlemen.
Story of Tara Devi
Tara Devi aged 51 years of Adbhora village, was bold and entrepreneurial. She joined the “Jaivik Utpadak Upsamuh Adbhora”, an organic farmer group consisting of 20 members. In spite of her hectic household work and criticism from people around, boldly participated in the trainings. In 3.54 hectares of land, besides chilli farming, she developed a poly house of 20×5 meters under which she produced vegetables like peas, cabbage, okra, capsicum and brinjal. She also planted 200 fruit trees of peach, plum, apricot and guava. She setup a pond of size 6x5x1.5 mts, started fisheries in the same pond. From the profits of selling fish, invested on a structure to take up poultry. She now earns Rs. 6000 – 7000 per month from dairy and Rs 20,000–25,000 from chilli farming for the entire season, a gain of Rs 10,000-15,000, from earlier levels. She has inspired several other women including 14 more members in her group.
Hirdesh Kumar Chunera
Sanjeevani Vikas Evam Jan Kalyan Samiti