Resource Centres Augment Income Of Women Farmers

Resource Centres Augment Income Of Women Farmers

The women farmers of Samarsepur Village in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri would often struggle with the high cost of agricultural inputs, especially with irrigation expenditures. With support from Oxfam India and AIM Trust, they were able to take charge of this situation by setting up a resource centre, which resulted in a collective increase in income.

Raj Rani, a woman farmer from Samarsepur village, owns about 0.5 hectares of land on which she cultivates crops and vegetables. Her family of seven is dependent on the revenue generated from her land. She used to cultivate paddy and vegetables in her field through traditional methods and was using lots of chemical pesticides in the field which were cost intensive. She would purchase seeds from local shops, which did not yield sufficient results.

The farmers in the village have often struggled due to high input costs of agriculture such as seeds, manure, pesticides and irrigation, which is most important and also the most expensive. Financing irrigation had been an uphill challenge for them.

A women farmers group was formed in Samarsepur, which was then linked with State Rural Livelihood Mission (SRLM). The farmers was provided training on group management, group savings, record maintenance and using these methods for self-financed agriculture.

From SRLM, they received revolving funds which they used to support their agricultural activities. Through Oxfam India, the women farmers were provided training by agricultural scientists on different climate resilient agricultural practices, and creating organic manure and pesticides by using locally available materials, thereby reducing the cost of cultivation. They were then linked to government schemes where they received various inputs like seeds, funds, etc.

In November 2020, members of the women farmer group ‘Gulab Mahila Kisan Samooh’ started a resource centre. The group elected Seema Devi as the president to manage the centre. With support from Oxfam India, they purchased 1000 feet of pipe, machines for spraying pesticides and drums for making organic manure and pesticide. With the purchase of the pipe, the women farmers in the village no longer had to struggle with irrigation.

They decided to rent out 100 feet of pipe at Rs 10 per day, the drum at Rs 5 per day and the spray machine at Rs 25 per day to the other farmers in their village. They opened a separate bank account for the group so that they can save money received from the resource centre in a separate account.

Till date, the women farmers have accumulated Rs 8020 in this bank account. Among the villages in the project area, 11 women farmers’ resource centres have been formed. 285 women farmers associated with this project are availing of the direct benefits of support centres.

Raj Rani began her association with the project when she started attending meetings with the women farmers in her village. Information about climate resilient agricultural practices and scientific methods of cultivation benefitted her immensely. She then started selecting appropriate seeds, with guidance from agricultural scientists and after assessing the soil condition.

She started cultivating tomatoes and peas and treated her land with trichoderma and used organic manure and pesticides—significantly reducing the cost of cultivation. She paid Rs 12,000 for purchasing tomato and pea seeds and organic manure, and got Rs 30,000 after selling the produce. She also planted ridge gourd and bitter gourd and cultivated 6 quintals of vegetables. She earned Rs 9,000 by selling these as well. Apart from this, she was linked to a government scheme and received Rs 60,000 for building a cattle shade. She has now successfully minimised the cost of cultivation and has increased her income by selling good quality vegetables.

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