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Jharkhand women empower themselves, take on lead roles on their farms
The face of villages in Jharkhand is changing. Gone are the days when you would only see the men working in the fields on their farm lands. Today, the women of the state are breaking the shackles of patriarchy by actively engaging in activities traditionally led by men. You can see women in large numbers plugging their fields and engaging confidently in all agricultural activities, and that too, with a great amount of success.
This transformation has come around because of the MKSP (Mahila Kishan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana), a programme supported by the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS).
Agriculture has been the mainstay of rural economy in the state for years. But, traditional farming did not justify a farmer’s hard labour as the productivity and profit was very less compared to the amount of hard work and engagement involved.
However, with the help of MKSP (Mahila Kishan Sashaktikaran Pariyojna), women are now getting training and motivation to contribute on their farms for better production.
The primary objective of the MKSP is to empower women farmers in agriculture, livestock & NTFP by making systematic investments in community-based organizations to enhance their participation and productivity, as well as to create and sustain agriculture-based livelihoods of rural women. The project aims to increase income of small and marginal women farmers through capacity building around sustainable agriculture as majority of farmers are involved in subsistence farming, using indigenous technologies which results in low yield and high labour cost.
Story of change through MKSP…
Life of Somwari Kui is a case in point. Her success story can motivate other women to become a farmer The only source of income in her family is farming. But since the plot of land that the family had was very small, it didn’t contribute much to their family income. The fact that they practiced traditional farming methods did not help..
Somwari then joined the ‘Sawarsati Mahila Sakhi Mandal’ and she got to know about the MKSP programme. She decided to become a farmer and got training with the help of JSLPS. The training helped her know about the scientific ways of farming. She had 6 ber trees and 3 kusum trees, but did not know anything about lac cultivation.
At beginning she started work with 50 Farmers; and within a year by her sheer determination and hard work combined with strong mobilization she was able to raise earning of her own along with other farmers. Due to her performance she was asked by VO to work with more farmers on same concept. Now she is involved with 110 farmers in both lac and tamarind intervention. She is not only involved in backward support but also involved in forward linkages of scrap lac and tamarind to RSC, which also involves the prodit margin for her.
Impact on Income:-
Income of Somwari is now gradually converted from resource fees to percentage of margin. Earlier she was involved with 50 farmers from project support where she was paid from RSC (Rural service Centre). But slowly her service mode changed when she got involved in collection and sale of scrap lac and tamarind to RSC. RSC fixed a margin price to her for collecting better quality of products with large quanity. For one Kg of scrap lac and tamarind she earns a profit marging of Rs 0.5 and Rs 0.7 respectively. Today the annual supply of tamarind and lac to her RSC by Somwari is 5MT and 3 MT respectively.