Women Farmers in Maharashtra Redefine Agriculture with Self-Reliant Practices

Women Farmers of Maharashtra
Preeti Bali / 8:14 am / May 6, 2024

Women farmers in Maharashtra are challenging traditional norms and leading the way towards a more sustainable future for agriculture. By embracing self-reliant practices, diversifying crops, and improving soil fertility, these women are not only feeding their families but also inspiring their communities.

Breaking Barriers, Building Confidence

One such woman is Padma Bhusari from Nagpur. Unlike many women in her position, Padma refused to accept the traditional division of labor on the farm. Disagreeing with her husband’s crop choices, she secretly planted a variety of pulses on their land using the principles of ‘Swawlambee sheti’ (self-reliant agriculture). Her success not only provided her family with nutritious food but also challenged her husband’s preconceptions and empowered her to take a more active role in farm decisions.

Swawlambee Sheti: A Recipe for Success

Padma’s story is just one example of the transformative power of ‘Swawlambee sheti’. This approach promotes organic farming with a focus on reducing costs and increasing self-sufficiency. Women farmers like Nirmala Katahwate have seen firsthand the benefits of this method. Nirmala struggled initially, but by persevering with natural farming techniques, she achieved higher yields with lower expenses compared to traditional methods reliant on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Beyond Food Security: A Ripple Effect of Change

The impact of ‘Swawlambee sheti’ extends far beyond just food production. Geeta Pusnake from Yavatmal district, a region notorious for farmer suicides, has successfully revitalized barren land using these methods. Her success has garnered respect from the community and inspired other women to adopt similar practices.

More Crops, More Confidence

The movement towards self-reliant agriculture is gaining momentum. In Ralegaon taluka, a majority of women farmers from several villages are now part of the ‘Swawlambee sheti’ movement. Chandatai Godam, an Adivasi farmer, has not only achieved remarkable yields by planting over 12 different crops on a single acre but has also earned the trust and support of her husband.

Financial Independence and Family Pride

This newfound confidence extends beyond the farm. Women like Nirmala Katahwate highlight how self-reliant farming empowers women to take charge of their finances, especially in households struggling with male alcoholism. Ujjwala Shrikant Shinde from Nagpur exemplifies the positive impact on families. The diversity of crops grown on her land not only nourishes the soil but also provides a variety of healthy food for her family. Her children take immense pride in their mother’s progressive approach to farming.

A Brighter Future for Agriculture

The women farmers of Maharashtra are paving the way for a more sustainable and equitable future for agriculture. By embracing self-reliance and innovation, they are not only securing food security for their families but also inspiring and empowering others to join the movement.

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