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15 Wonder Women from Rural Areas Got into Contract Farming; Reap a Bountiful Harvest

On the hunt for a job in the aftermath of the government imposing a lockdown across the country, 15 women, from a cross-section of society came together and settled on an acre of land, which they rented for a year, in Mattigatti village, Kundagol taluk in Dharwad.

Ayushi Raina
Women working in the field
Women working in the field

In search of work after the government imposed a nationwide curfew, 15 women from all different backgrounds came together and rented an acre of land in Mattigatti village, Kundagol taluk in Dharwad, for a year.

Contract farming, as this form of agriculture is commonly known, has long been considered to be a man's domain, yet these women were not only brave enough to establish an enterprising venture on their own, but they also harvested a nice crop after spreading groundnut and millets on their field. They are still working on the same farm, although they have indicated a desire to work on a larger farm and develop their business. 

In the year 2000, the Vinayak Stree Shakti Sangha (VSSS) was founded, to which all 15 women belonged and under the banner, they undertook the agrarian endeavor. "At that time, we were crushing chilies to manufacture chili powder, which we used to sell." However, after meeting with members of the Bengaluru-based NGO Sahaja Samruddha in 2019, we began to consider extending our business. We rented an acre in April and harvested seven quintals of groundnut with our Kharif crop, as well as 8 to 10 kg of foxtail millet along the border. We did not sell the groundnut since the crop price has dropped. "We're keeping the product for now, and we'll utilize the foxtail millet we've cultivated at home," VSSS convener Ratna Hosalli said. 

"We're keeping the product for now, and we'll utilize the foxtail millet we've cultivated at home," VSSS convener Ratna Hosalli said. 

They had rented the land for a year, according to Paravva Alagawadi, another VSSS member. "We paid for seeds, utilised very little fertiliser, and are certain that our earnings will cover up our expenditures. We will profit from whatever money we generate from our rabi harvest. In the rabi season, we opted to sow gram and sorghum," Paravva explained.

Sarojavva Arali, a coworker of Paravva's, estimated that they would have had to pay an additional Rs.8500 for the labourers to pluck the groundnut from the ground. "Instead, we chose to labour in the field ourselves, even if it meant working while shelling groundnuts in the machine. We agreed that if a sangha member missed a day's labor, she would have to pay for it on that day or send someone from her family to do the job. We were able to save a significant amount of money as a result of this," Sarojavva added.

The trio stated that the agricultural property will be leased for another two years. "We're seeking to receive a government interest-free loan, and if we get it, we'll expand our business," the three women stated.

Mrutyunjay Ramani, the cluster coordinator for Sahaja Samruddha, lauded the VSSS members' enthusiasm, especially when it came to learning something new. "After seeing their excitement, we were encouraged to offer them with all conceivable assistance, including training," he stated.

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