Farming Yields Empowerment

Farming Yields Empowerment

“Due to my poor economic condition, people didn’t listen to me and relatives didn’t support me. I had to compromise on everything. After benefitting from training in climate resilient agricultural practices, I feel empowered. I have self-respect and the respect of people around me,” says Mithilesh Devi.

What's more, she is now sending her children to school. She plans to send her daughter to a sports school as she is interested in sports. 

Mithilesh Devi is a 40-year-old woman farmer who lives in Revana village, in Mitauli Block in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh.

She lives with her husband Jitendra Kumar, also a farmer. They have two acres (13 bighas) of land, of which, she owns 11 bighas and  two bighas belong to her husband. They cultivate wheat and sugarcane. In order to earn more profit, they would use chemical fertilisers and pesticides. While it resulted in a good crop yield, it was temporary. The yield began to decrease with time and due to the cost of production, they began incurring losses.

In 2016, Mithilesh came to know about Oxfam India and AIM Trust working on climate-resilient agricultural practices in neighbouring Pakariya village. She visited the latter's office and presented her problem. This is where she came to know about climate-resilient agriculture, about farming methods and soil testing.

When Mithilesh had her soil tested, she found that there were no nutrients in the soil. Excessive usage of chemical fertilisers and pesticides had compromised the soil quality, she was told.

She came back to Oxfam India and AIM Trust; she requested that her village be a part of the climate-resilient agricultural practices project—an initiative that promotes sustainable agriculture among small and marginal farmers. She formed a group in her village and held monthly meetings to promote climate-resilient agricultural practices. 

She joined the Farmer Field School formed by Oxfam India and AIM Trust; here Mithilesh received extensive training and field exposure which she adapted in her fields. By adopting better, climate-friendly practices such as germicidal insecticide, trichocard, and waste decomposers she started getting financial benefits after three years. Until 2019, which happened to be a turn around year for her, she managed to save upto INR 35,000 per year; after 2019, her annual savings went up to INR 60,000. 

She has now leased nine bighas of land from two women in her village and opened a bank account for herself. Mithilesh formed the Shiva Mitra Self Help Group (SHG), comprising 11 women farmers, and eventually joined the National Rural Livelihood Mission. The progress of Mithilesh's group encouraged other women farmers to form another SHG—Durga Prerna Self Help Group—in the village.

Mithilesh Devi says, “I broke away from the modern farming system, which decreases the fertility of the soil. Now my socio-economic condition has improved. I have a different identity now and I am very happy that I joined the project.”

Watch the video to know more about the project.

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