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A woman's struggle to build a life with farming

Amit Bhatt
Amit Bhatt
Amarjeet Kaur at work

Amarjeet Kaur, from Barara tehsil in District Ambala, talked with us about her life as a member of her family and as a progressive farmer. Amarjeet tells how she got into farming and the progress that she has made.

Amarjeet started farming actively in 2007, mainly due to financial and family issues.  At the time she was in first year of graduation and her father, the earning  member of her family got ill. So, the responsibility of sustaining the family fell on the shoulders of Amarjeet and her brother, also a student. Her brother was dreaming about joining government services, so she decided to take up the responsibility of supporting the family financially. She wanted her brother to achieve his goals.

She did not consider taking up employment as it wouldn't provide income that she needed to earn. As a youngster she did not have enough experience about how to manage family life, housework, occupations or farm work. Her father used to take her to his farm occasionally. She believes that girls can do everything that boys do and boys alone don't have to take up the burdens of the family. The financial condition of the family and her brother education, were the main considerations for her to take up farming.

Amaejeet observing the soil

Amaejeet observing the soil

She started farming but did not leave education. The lecturers at the college were cooperative and encouraged her in education. She had 15 acres of land available to her initially to work with. 9-10 acres of this land was owned by her father and the rest they had taken up on contract. She continued with this arrangement for 3 years. 

She hired no helpers and took care of fertilizers, manure, pesticides or insecticides and marketing of the produce herself. She used to take her sugarcane crops to the sugar mill, which is 20 Kilometers away. She continued with the farming activities that her father used to perform. 

Amarjeet with her crops

Amarjeet had to invest big amounts in transporting the sugarcanes, from her farm to the mill. In 2011, a person in their locality, Mr. Rakesh Kumar, helped in arranging a vehicle from the mill to collect her sugarcane crop. She met the MD of the sugar mill who allowed her to load sugarcanes in company vehicles where they unloaded. She has found the sugar mill officials very helpful. For marketing she attends regularly meetings with the managers of the mill. She also markets her products at the mandi.

She then started to tell us about the crops that she grows. In winter, she grows wheat, sugarcane, vegetables. She uses bio-products as her fertilizers and insecticides and never uses chemicals. Organic farming is of great interest to her. She said she feels very good about her work and the position she is in. She has completed her Masters in agriculture after completing her graduation. She has also done a diploma, however her main focus for last decade has been her farms and she feels very passionate about her agricultural work. People locally see me enjoying my work and have trained their daughters as tractor driver or are educating them in agriculture, hoping that they would enjoy life like her.

She tells women to make a mark for themselves, you can do anything you like. She said, the women with domestic issues must try to make themselves independent by learning skills which they can use to work. There are lots of women whom you can look up to as examples, as they handle their family and manage businesses as well. She continues that very few women come forward in terms of representation and most of them work behind the scenes. 

The farmer explained that she struggled initially with agriculture and not many people came forward to help her. They didn't believe that a girl would succeed in this business. However she was very enthusiastic and kept working hard. She didn't have knowledge about sowing or irrigation and she learnt on farm and with experience. She asked persons in her locality, willing to help, questions about these agricultural activities. 

She made lots of efforts before making a headway. She didn't know how the soil will react to her irrigation methods and everybody learns at different speeds. She made slow but steady progress in managing her farms. Slowly the farming community accepted her as one of their own, even the girls in community interested in farming come to her for guidance and information. Being a woman she is already willing to help them and she hopes that many more  women will come forward not only on the agricultural scene but in other fields too, where they can build a career.

Women need sources of income, so they can farm organically and they can make help videos for others to learn. You should keep yourself busy, develop skills and find ways of earning some income. You should do something that makes the society recognize you. Please click here to see the video your self.

Amarjeet Kaur

Amarjeet Kaur

Ambala, Punjab

Expertise in Integrated Farming. Owner of Amarjeet’s Integrated Farming

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