Interviews

Women’s Day 2021: “Believe in Yourself,” says Hansaben Kirtichandra Vadia, Progressive Woman Farmer of Gujarat

Hansaben driving a tractor

The progress of a society is largely dependent on how it treats its women and how much they progress. Gujarat is mostly characterized by orthodox families, but, lately, this state has witnessed a progress in the society. Women of all ages riding scooty is a common sight at the streets of most Gujarat cities. One of the places where women are increasingly becoming common are agriculture fields; no, not working as laborer, but running the farms.  

One such proud female farmer from Mandvi of Gujarat is Hansaben Kirtichandra Vadia.  

In a tete-e-tete with Krishi Jagran’s (KJ) content writer Shipra Singh, Hansaben (H) talks about how she ventured into farming, leaving her job as a teacher, and how it is normal in her family to encourage women in every aspect of life.  

The following are the excerpts of the conversation: 

Hansaben with her husband and children

KJ SS: Hansaben, tell us about yourself and your family 

H: I live in Mandvi (Kutch area of Gujarat) with husband, two daughters, and two sons. My family also consists of parents-in-law, brother-in-law and his family. We are a close-knit family.  

KJ SS: How did you get the idea of starting pomegranate farm? 

H: My maternal uncle-in-law is already into pomegranate cultivation. My husband’s side of the family is also involved in farming. So, we got a lot of guidance from our family, who encouraged us to start our own cultivation farm. Gujarat has Arabian Sea, so the water is saline, yet pomegranate does well here.  

KJ SS: What crops do you grow in your farm? 

H: We do pomegranate cultivation through tissue culture. At present, we focus on this fruit only.  

Hansaben at her pomegranate farm

KJ SS: Which varieties of pomegranate do you grow? 

H: “Bhagva Sindoori.” We are planning to grow “Super Bhagva” in the future. We have already bought plants of this new variety and the planning is going on.  

KJ SS: Why did you choose these varieties of pomegranate? Are there any specialties? 

H: Yes. “Bhagva Sindoori” produces big-sized fruits, which are in high demand in the market. So, these fruits give us good returns. “Super Bhagva” variety that we are planning to grow is known to provide better yield and show less incidences of pests and diseases.  

KJ SS: Where do you sell your fruits? 

H: We sell our fruits to traders who come from various states including Delhi, Jaipur, and Bengal.  

KJ SS: As a woman doing farming, did you face any challenge? 

H: No. In fact, my father-in-law always encourages me to go ahead and manage the farm.  

Hansaben (extreme left) with her whole family

KJ SS: How do you manage home and farm? 

H: My husband does service. I manage the farm when he is at his job. We have deployed laborers at our farm. So, we are mostly engaged in farm management. But we do the spraying and other such activities ourselves. I wake up early in the morning. This helps me manage things well. Besides, I have interest in farming, so I am happy doing this.  

KJ SS: As a woman, how are you feeling in life today? 

H: I am feeling very good at present. I get a lot of encouragement from family. I was a teacher before. I left my job to focus on my farm. Because it was difficult to do job and manage farm at the same time, so my father-in-law advised to focus entirely on farm management. He never told that you are a woman, you cannot manage farm. This thought never comes in my family’s mind. 

KJ SS: Are you planning to try any other crop in your farm? 

H: We are thinking of growing Khajur (dates), but the plants are very costly to buy. Pomegranate is affordable to buy and gives high returns. On the other hand, Khajur trees take years to mature and give yield. So, we are still thinking; nothing is planned as such.  

KJ SS: What message would you give to women of today? 

H: Atmavishwas rakho”(Believe in yourselves). Agriculture is a lucrative field. Women have a lot of opportunities in agriculture line.  

Happy Women’s Day to all the “feminine energies” on Planet Earth and beyond!  

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