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Lakhimani Murmu Inspiring Millions! An Entrepreneur Started Her Journey with Just Rs 2500

Lakhimani Murmu is an active member of the Maniyardi Kadamjharna SHG in Binpur, West Bengal. Lakhimani, lives in a mud house surrounded by forest with her husband and two sons. Lakhimani, like most scheduled tribes' smallholder farmers, had very little land for crop cultivation.

Shivam Dwivedi
It was believed that Guntur's dry red chilli, particularly the Tejaswini variety, was ideal for this black soil region
It was believed that Guntur's dry red chilli, particularly the Tejaswini variety, was ideal for this black soil region

Thus, producing for their own needs came first, and planning for any crop other than paddy was a luxury for her. Smallholder farmers like Lakhimani began to experiment with vegetable farming to supplement their income a few years ago.


Farmers, on the other hand, suffered losses due to high price fluctuations in tomato, green chilli, and brinjal. Looking for higher-priced markets would either cause the crops to rot or force the farmers to sell them at the market price.

When PRADAN introduced collective green chilli cultivation, Lakhimani bravely stepped forward to grow it on a 0.1-acre plot of land, earning Rs. 4000 profit. PRADAN organised a field trip to learn about vegetable farming and marketing directly from farmers. It was believed that Guntur's dry red chilli, particularly the Tejaswini variety, was ideal for this black soil region and could assist farmers in overcoming crop damage, price fluctuations, and crop loss (due to its longer shelf-life). The goal was to connect with the spice market in order to get a good price for the produce during the monsoon season.

Lakhimani was hesitant to experiment with a new crop. Despite her reservations, she prepared her 0.1 acre of fallow land for the red crop, citing the area's recent green chilli success. To reduce her risk, she sowed turmeric seeds on another 0.09 acre of land, following PRADAN's advice. She planted 1200 dry red chilli saplings and 135 kg of turmeric in 2020. Flowers bloomed in her red-chili plants after 40 days of transplantation, and after two months, she began plucking and selling them after drying the chilies. After three weeks, a second plucking was performed.


To mitigate the impact of price fluctuations on farmers, a farmer producer organisation (FPO) called Jungalmahal Sabujsathi Mahila Producer Company Ltd. was formed as part of the Walmart Foundation-funded project 'Livelihoods Enhancement through Market Access and Women Empowerment' (LEAP). The FPO aided in the price negotiation for Lakhimani's dry red chilies.

Lakhimani's profit from a Rs. 2500 investment was nearly Rs.10,000. She started with red chilli and had turmeric plants waiting to be harvested. She harvested 104 kgs from 20 kgs of seeds after 10 months. She sold half of her harvest to the FPO for Rs. 38/kg and saved the remaining plants for harvesting the following year. Lakhimani made Rs. 3152 profit.

In addition to harvesting the remaining turmeric, she and other Maniyardi village farmers will grow red chilies and tomatoes on 0.19 acre of her land this year with FPO assistance. 2.3 tonnes of turmeric seeds have already been purchased by the FPO.


Eight Agriculture Entrepreneurs (farmers who have stepped forward as entrepreneurs to raise healthy saplings) have raised 50,500 Tejaswini saplings with the goal of providing farmers with healthy, disease-free saplings.


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