1. Success Story

Sukhiya Bai: A Tribal Woman Farmer Became a Guiding Light For Thousands Of Others

Sugandh Bhatnagar
Sugandh Bhatnagar
Sukhiya Bai in her field

Sukhiya Bai, a woman belonging to a Scheduled tribe community (Gond Adivashi) lives in Juwadi village in Ghodadongri block of Betul district in Madhya Pradesh with her two children and husband. She is a living example for all tribal women.

She has earned the identity of agriculture resource person or “Ajeevika mitra” among farmers by engaging, educating and providing support in agriculture to ensure better household income to over 100 women directly and many others indirectly with her own capacity to mobilize & motivate people. She organizes training to educate women around best practices and management of agriculture along with providing key services and extending hand-holding support to them by visiting their fields regularly. In her astonishing journey, she came across many ups and down due to personal as well as societal reasons but challenging them with her belief in herself, she has organized herself to become an encouraging and confident woman paving her own path.

In 2013 when PRADAN extended its operations to Juwadi village for SHG promotion, Sukhiya Bai became a member of an SHG along with 39 other members in the village.

As she was the only one who had gone to school up to class 5th, all the members of her SHG logically appointed her as the SHG accountant, once group started to discuss around livelihood augmentation, Sukhiya Bai decided to up-bring the women of her village by educating, motivating and supporting them to increase their household income by adopting best practices, crops and vegetables in agriculture.

Initially Sukhiya Bai also used to perform household chores just like the rest of the women in her village, but with time, she became a resource and a true service provider for these women

Steeping into Commercial maize farming:

Input linkage and capacity building: With goal of increasing income of the collectivized in SHG in the village. She gives training to the women farmer and also visits their farm. Along with that quality input availability is one the key challenges in the area so like other Resource person she also avail her farmer quality input after planning. After exploring in the market she was linked to the best vendor and delivers input to the farmers as planned and demanded by them.

Demonstration of Seed cum Fertilizer drill:  Sukhiya Bai have been engaged in educating her fellow women farmer about the best practices like basal doze, line sowing with proper spacing in maize to enhance productivity and income. The practice of line sowing and maintaining proper spacing between seed was very labor-intensive task to do for her and her other farmers in her own village and nearby village. Labor intensity in ensuring this key practice also affected the investment over the crop. Practices do give return in the end but also demand human labor at the peak time of season when labor demands is high.

Corteva Organizes Demonstration of Seed cum Fertilizer Drill

Apart from this, as the sowing is dependent on rain, rain also affects the sowing. This year, with the support from corteva, In order to reduce the human labor, precious time of farmers and ensure best practices like basal doze and line sowing with proper spacing; Demonstration of Seed cum fertilizer drill was done in the village with the farmers. To build confidence among the farmers, she started it with her own farm. As it was new attachment for both farmer and tractor owner, it took time to learn operations and mechanism of the machine so that machine could be used effectively.

As it was new intervention and relatively new attachment or machine for both farmer and tractor owner, it will take season or two to gain confidence and to know about dynamics of the machines like speed, movements of machines and its gear delivering seeds. Small Maintenance like breaking of nuts and boults, gear chance and its setting to deliver desired seed and fertilizer will took more than one season. It could also be used in other crops like gram, wheat to test and learn.

One more challenge which seems that tractor owner usually have their own usual seedrills which are used for sowing but it doesn’t maintain space and the waste of seed is high. But as it is in practice no owner get motivated to try out different things as seed cum fertilizer drill is owned by SHGs. SHGs are now looking for the tractor owner who does not own any such attachment.

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