(Ruhi Begum is an exception in her community, she formed the SHG in her village, kept books of accounts, then selected as a Krishi Sakhi, and then as a master CRP. She took a loan from SHG for the purchase of seeds, then took a second instalment and installed an irrigation system and converted her entire land into irrigated one. She received training on agro-ecology and applied those in her field, producde chemical-free vegetables, and increased her income to Rs 2.9 lakh from just Rs 60,000 per annum before joining in SHG. She supports 510 SHG members in the adoption of new practices, also provides on-field supports to farmers of UP, Haryana, and Punjab, she is now pursuing her MSW)
“NRLM is a boon for poor household, and it is a way of making women’s self identity in society,” said Ruhi Begum, born in a poor agrarian family in Budhar block of Shahdol district (MP) with only 3 acres of cultivable land (out of 5 acres of total land).
Her family was always supportive, she formed Nihal Self Help Group on 5th June 2013 with 11 members, including herself, and she was book-keeper of her SHG. From the beginning, she was interested in agriculture; later she was selected as Krishi Sakhi. She has received training in multiple doses on various agro ecological practices.
She took her first loan of Rs 5,000 from her SHG for purchase of improved seeds and later took Rs 40,000 for installing an irrigation system to make her entire land irrigated.
After receiving trainings, she adopted various agro-ecological practices like Bhu-NADEP, bio-pesticides, Dharwad method of Redgram cultivation, SRI method of rice cultivation, use of Azolla for rice cultivation in her field. Now she grows chemical free vegetables and sells them for about Rs. 35,000 per year. Besides, she earns Rs. 90,000 from paddy and Rs. 50,000 from selling of Sesame seeds annually.
She also procures NTFP and sells in the nearby market and earn Rs.1,20,000 annually. Her total annual income has increased by 383% to Rs. 2.90 Lac which was just about Rs 60,000 when she joined in the SHG. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters in Social Work (MSW).
She experienced that farmers cultivating cereals, pulses, and vegetable with conventional chemical based agricultural practices have a high cost of cultivation. These practices not only reducing the production of crops and soil fertility, but also causing serious health problems, which is contrary to those who have adopted agro ecological practices and getting more produces with a reduced cost of cultivation.
Recently her performance, knowledge, and experiences helped her to get selected as Master CRP (m-CRP). This has provided her with opportunities to help her fellow SHG members (farmers) in other states like Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab to switch from conventional practices to agro-ecological practices.
Before joining SHGs, she was dependent on her family, but after joining the SHGs, she is now well established independent member of the society.