Women Farmers Make Barren Land Fertile
Arpan formed a group of women farmers in Hudaki village with the support of ActionAid. The group has 15 members. Women work a lot in the agriculture but are not recognised as farmer. They have very small land holdings, mostly less than 1 acres. They worked in the traditional way and had limited opportunity to learn about the new agriculture techniques. In these small landholdings they get production lasting for just for few months.
Following the group formation, regular monthly meetings were organised in the village, in which women discussed about their rights on the natural resource (forest, water, land, etc.). They talked about the methods of organic farming and low cost agriculture models. They also talked about the community farming with the animator of ARPAN. In that discussion it came that a piece of land of gram sabha was available in the village but it was not fertile. ARPAN suggested that women farmer group could work on this land if the gram pradhan permitted.
Women leaders called a meeting and met the gram pradhan with their proposal. He agreed and all 15 women started work on that land, digging the land, ploughing it and preparing it for farming. They also made a boundary wall to protect the field from animals. The ARPAN opened a seed bank in their village and provided seeds of maize, paddy, pumpkin and bottle guard to them. This is happened first time when all the women got together and did the collective farming. The women looked after the field collectively. They got sufficient production for their consumption. Now their work has been recognised by the community. They learnt many things in this duration. They are very confident now.