1. Home
  2. Blog

Mahila Kisan Diwas: Meet Malati Malik & Shamima Begum, Successful Women Farmers from West Bengal

Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas is observed every year on 15th October. The day recognizes the role and importance of women and girls in development of agriculture sector.

KJ Contributor
Malati Malik

Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas is observed every year on 15th October. The day recognizes the role and importance of women and girls in the development of agriculture sector. The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare observes Rashtriya Mahila Kisan Diwas since 2016, to increase the participation of women in agriculture.

Today we will tell you about two women farmers who have been inspiring many others in their villages/towns.

Inspirational Women Farmers in India

Malati Malik hails from Harishchandrapur village in Hooghly, West Bengal. A housewife and wife of a potato farmer, she has been farming for the past 20-22 years with her husband in 0.8 acre of farmland. She has been working with PepsiCo India for over a year now under their ‘Women Empowerment Initiative’.

She has been part of all the robust training sessions organized under this initiative like seed treatment, pest control, harvesting, storage of the final produce, etc. The training programs have expanded her horizon by educating her on sustainable farming practices, best irrigation and crop rotation techniques, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, etc. Now she is so confident that she cultivates potatoes independently for the company and doesn’t take anyone’s help. Instead, she shares her knowledge and skills with other fellow farmers. With the profits she earned by cultivating potatoes recently for the company, she managed to construct a tube well and toilet for her family. Seeing her work on the field, Malati’s family speaks highly of her dedication and commitment towards her work.

After a lot of ups and downs, Malati now feels happy to be able to perform end-to-end cropping alone with more profit at hand. Now she doesn’t feel the need to take help from her husband. Instead, Malati being a quick learner, is so well versed with the farming process that she helps her husband and educates him on various aspects like what kind of nutrition is required for potato plants, how to do deal with common pests and so on..When she looks back at how she was when she joined the program, she feels extremely happy about the transformation in her as a farmer and in the livelihoods of her family members.

Before joining PepsiCo India’s women empowerment initiative, she used to help her husband in the field and grow other variety seeds which didn’t give her much profit and the prices were quite fluctuating. During that time, she wasn’t exposed to any kind of Agri and farming related trainings. Additionally, she didn’t have access to special chemicals that are important to prevent crop failures.     

Post joining the women empowerment initiative, she realised the difference in the profits. She started earning a better income working with the company which was not possible earlier. The buy-back of the final produce at pre-agreed prices relieved Malati from worrying about the price fluctuations.

Outside of the financial aspect, she is happy about how the agricultural trainings are specially organized for the women farmers and how these regular sessions have benefitted the women farmer community. Malati believes that it is because of the training programs, today she feels empowered and confident enough to work in the fields on her own.

Another women farmer is Shamima Begum, who hails from Molaypur village in Hooghly, West Bengal and has been associated with PepsiCo India for over a year now. A homemaker and a wife of a potato farmer before she joined PepsiCo’s and USAID’s women empowerment program and today, she is the group leader of Eid Mubarak Self Help Group. Both PepsiCo India and USAID approached her and other members of her group to join the potato farming extension training as part of a women’s empowerment initiative.

As part of the training program, she has been attending all the training sessions, starting from land preparation to seed cutting and treatment to harvesting and storing the potatoes. Through these sessions, she has now learned to perform skilled jobs and end-to-end cropping in the fields. A young independent farmer, she owes her farming knowledge to these training programs.

She has been so good with her work that she is now independently working in the field and supplying potatoes to PepsiCo India. Not only that, she and her other members could produce equivalent produce both in quality and quantity from a unit area of land as other male farmers in the community.

Shamima Begum
Shamima Begum

That’s not all, today Shamima guides her husband and other fellow members on different stages of farming whenever needed. She is earning well for herself and her family. Gone are those days when Shamima didn’t have a single penny to spend on her children or for the house, now she is earning decent profits through which she has been able to contribute to the household expenses and monetarily support her daughter’s study who is currently preparing for NEET exam.

This has given a lot of confidence to Shamima – a journey from not earning a single penny to managing the household shoulder-to-shoulder with her husband, she has come a long way.

Take this quiz on World Meteorological Day to check your knowledge about meteorology! Take a quiz
Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters