1. Agriculture World

Tribal Women in Rajasthan are the Torchbearers of Natural Farming

More than a thousand women in Banswara's tribal district practice low-cost natural agriculture. These women are self-sufficient and earn enough to feed their families while also saving for the future. They prepare fertilizers, share seeds, and make homemade medicines.

Shivam Dwivedi
A Rajasthani Tribal Women Working in her Field
A Rajasthani Tribal Women Working in her Field

Natural farming is being promoted by the Central and state governments to remind and revive traditional agricultural practices, but little do they know that in Rajasthan's southern tribal belt, women in the Banswara district are already practising it and taking it forward by forming 'Saksham Samuh' (a group of self-empowered women).

More than a thousand women in Banswara's tribal district practice low-cost natural agriculture. These women are self-sufficient and earn enough to feed their families while also saving for the future. They prepare fertilizers, share seeds, and make homemade medicines.

Agriculture is the only source of income for the women of Anandpuri village, so they have taken on the task of preparing every nook and corner of their land productive and high-yielding. Traditional farming has been practiced by women in Anandpuri village, Banswara district, for centuries, but they have only been able to provide food grains for their families. This is due to their hard work, but they were not trained enough to make their land high yielding.

But, now that they've formed a women's group, they're not only sharing ideas and seeds, but they're also having group discussions, and they've come to the conclusion that doing mixed farming will increase their earnings.

“When we had very little knowledge of mixed farming, we managed to grow grains to meet the need of the family for a year and thought it was enough for us, but now as we have learned the art of mixed farming, we women farmers are managing to not only meet the need of the family but also earning well. This year I planted onions in my 1 bigha land and managed to produce 5 quintals of onions, I sold them and earned Rs 15000, this was the additional income that I could save,” says Jashoda Phulchad Huwar, a resident of Deephor village of Anandpuri tehsil. 

She further shared that she has 3 bigha lands, in 2 bighas she grew corn, and in the remaining land, she grew Pigeon Peas (Arhat Dal) and vegetables like brinjal, and chili, tomato. She grew crops worth Rs 50,000 and earned a good amount for her family.

One of the remarkable things about these women farmers is that they not only grow these vegetables and grains but also themselves go to the market and sell them. 

Another group of women from Bor Khedi village, Kushalgarh block of Banswara district are preparing vermicompost; the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by earthworms. They are also making efforts to increase the fertility and productivity of soil using Azolla, a nitrogen-fixing plant that is rich in proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

They also prepare Brahmastra Organic Pesticide that helps get rid of insects that damage plants. Sharing the method of preparing Brahmastra, one of the women of the Saksham group shared, “Take two kg neem leaves, two kg cilantro, half kg hot red chili, two kg bitter gourd leaves, half kg garlic. The entire material has to be boiled in 10 kg of cow urine. It is to be boiled on the fire till the urine does not remain up to five kilograms. After that filter it and keep it. That much medicine is enough for one acre.”

So, in Rajasthan's tribal belt, multi-cropping and organic fertilizers have transformed traditional subsistence agriculture into a reliable source of income for more tribal farmers. They are self-confident and are boosting the confidence of other women in their village too.

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