Manju Devi's Journey Towards Self Reliance

Manju Devi's Journey Towards Self Reliance

Often the cost of cultivation and input costs are very high which pushes a farmer to debt. In most of the cases, small and marginal farmers are not able to arrange required agricultural equipment and resources essential for agriculture. Similar was the case in Musadai village of Lakhimpur Kheri where women farmers were either facing difficulties in agricultural activities due to having fewer surpluses in their hand or they were not able to do this completely. In most of the cases, they had to take a loan from money-lenders available in their neighbourhood at a very high interest rate.

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Women farmers of Musadai village are trying to overcome the struggle of expensive input cost. Women farmers save up to Rs. 10 each per member per week. Till date, they have received Rs. 11,040 with the contribution of women farmers in the group. They have also received Rs. 15,000 this year from National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) as a revolving fund. Women members of the group take inter-loan from the group for agricultural needs for which they use to pay interest of 2% per month. This helps them in doing agricultural activities without taking a loan from any money lender at a higher interest rate.

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Manju Devi is a women farmer from Musadai village and an active member of women farmers group named ‘Santoshi Mahila Kishan Samooh’. She says, "the women farmers group formed in our village is helpful for us as it has inculcated a habit of saving among us. We have received additional support of Rs. 15,000 as revolving fund from the government which we are using for agricultural activities. Many women farmers have purchased potato and tomato seeds, fertilizers etc with that resource. They will repay the amount with interest in the group. I am also managing women farmers’ resource centres in which we have 1300 ft. of irrigation pipe, three spray machines and four drums for preparation of organic fertilizers and pesticides. Women farmers take these equipment on rent at a very nominal rate. One person does not have the capacity to purchase all of these but taking them on rent is helpful for us. Now we are happy using these and are even planning to increase the strength of the resource centre by purchasing more required equipment with the accumulated money through rent."

Till date, 55 women farmers have received the benefit of the resource centre. The resource centre has accumulated an amount of Rs. 4,400 (61.70 USD) from rent paid by women farmers. The accumulated amount will be used for further strengthening groups. Currently, project resource centres have been established in five villages.

Oxfam India trains partner NGOs on building linkages with government schemes and ensuring last-mile delivery for women farmers.

Text by Binod Kumar Sinha, Programme Coordinator, Uttar Pradesh


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