Assam: Woman farmer doubles agriculture production
Mina Bando

Guwahati: ln the foothills of the Indo-Bhutan border lies the Dhiria village in the Baksa district of Assam. A predominantly Adivasi village, the other groups here are Bodo and Nepalis.

Mina Bando, a 45-year-old women farmer, who is a resident of this village, says, “The main issues of this village are lack of proper road connectivity and poor agriculture productivity.”

There was no electricity in this village till 2015 and roads are also not macadamized; the nearest public transport facility is about 10 km away. Due to its geographical location, human-elephant conflict is not uncommon. This village witnesses significant seasonal migration of youths to work as casual laborers.

Farming is an important source of livelihood in the village. But increasing input costs and plateauing productivity cause much distress in rural households here.

Mina, who is the President of an SHG promoted by SeSTA in this village, has received several leadership and technical trainings. This has boosted her confidence, improved her mobility and ability to voice her opinion in public spaces.

She says, “The most important skill I learned so far as a member of the SHG is about SRI and organic agriculture practices. I have been able to lower my input cost and significantly boost production in paddy.”

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In her two Bigha of land (0.66 acres), the production in the last three paddy cycles has jumped from 3 quintals to 7 quintals. She also adopted organic SRI practices to grow indigenous black rice and vegetables. This has helped the family in three ways: increased food security, better nutrition and seed sovereignty.

Mina today spreads awareness in her village to practice organic farming and is a trainer for producing organic fertilizers like Jeevamrut. She says, “Other women often visit our house to ask several queries related to SRI and organic practices and I guide them. Many women in my village are adopting new practices. They even teach their husbands!”

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