The transition from agriculture to transport for livelihoods – Kismati Devi
Kismati’s family mostly depends on agriculture followed by livestock rearing, and daily wages to feed the 6-member family. Her family owns only three bighas of agricultural land. The production from this land is insufficient to attain the food security of the family. The total cereals and pulse production from her own property provides them food for only six months, and the rest of the month’s food items is purchased from outside, with the income generated through daily wages. Her family condition was so miserable that, at times, they did not have enough cash to buy food items and fulfill other basic needs. Earlier she always faced difficulties in paying school fees on time for her children.
Understanding the poverty condition of her family, she decided to start a Kitchen garden in her backyard for the availability of vegetables round the year, so that she will never be dependent on external market for vegetables. During 2016, she joined the SHG in her village and facilitated other women to join the SHG. Because of her leadership, the group members of the VO selected her as the president of the VO. Under her leadership, currently, 18 SHGs consisting of 190 members are engaged in livelihood generation activities. Realizing her passion and potentiality on the establishment of kitchen garden and adaptation of new agricultural techniques in her small land, the VO has selected her as a Krishi Sakhi in the year 2017.
After her successful extension activities in agriculture and her proactiveness and dedication for promotion of agro-based livelihoods, her SHG has advised her to shift from agriculture to some other business. With the suggestion from her SHG, She has taken a loan of Rs. 6.5 lakhs from her SHG under Ajeevika Gramin Express under DAY-NRLM in the year 2018 without interest and purchased a mini-vehicle for transportation of public from her locality to nearby towns. Every month she is repaying Rs.9,028 per month towards the loan, and her repayment term is for six years. Every month, she is getting a total income of Rs. 15,000 per month; out of which she saves around Rs.5000 per month in her account after paying the monthly instalments.
She has adopted practices of SRI in paddy cultivation, SWI in wheat in her field. From her Kitchen garden in the backyard, she harvests vegetables for home consumption round year. She is earning Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 3,000 per month through her agricultural interventions. She is quite popular in her area as she promotes Prerana Poshan Vatika (kitchen garden) in every participating households. She has encouraged 110 families for the establishment of Kitchen Garden (Prerana Posan Vatika) in her operational area. She has also promoted Bori Bagicha (gunny bag garden) with 79 Households, who are landless. About 70% of households to whom Mrs. Kismati is providing support on agricultural activities have adopted a minimum four to five sustainable farming practices.
In the year 2017-18, she has got a profit of Rs. 36,848 through the cultivation of Paddy by adopting SRI practices along with the application of organic manures and bio-pesticides. She has applied 0.8 tonne to 1 tonne of Vermicompost and has not sprayed any chemical pesticides in her land, which gave her more than 30% yield than conventional methods. Through her savings, she has purchased some more agricultural land, and her total landholdings have been increased form merely three bighas to more than 2 acres. Currently, she is engaged in the management of Grameen Ajeevika Express activities.