Sarojini Pradhan is a determined woman living in Dadapada village of Kandhamal district. Belonging to a tribal family , she has experienced years of oppression and neglect . It wasn’t easy for her to step out of her house and join a self help group . She says that the income of her husband wasn’t enough to sustain the family and it was difficult for her family to make end’s meet. Despite her engagement in agricultural practices, there was no chance of saving . They decided to take a loan so that they could buy a new plot, seeds, and fertilizers, and in the hope of saving some money for the future. They bought everything they could with the loan money.
The entire amount was used for the household and for agricultural purposes. However, it became difficult to repay the loan due to the low productivity of her crops and the poor quality of sal and mauah seeds. No buyer wanted to buy these seeds at a good price.
Inspired by CARE’s Pathways initiative for women’s empowerment, Sarojini joined the self help group. There she learned more about agricultural practices. Pathways provided her with training in the promotion of line sowing and kitchen gardening through demonstrations, optimal use of local resources, and skill building.
Today Sarojini is engaged with the Farmers’ Club which has strengthened her knowledge about sustainable practices. For the first time, the market traders have bought 32 quintals of Mauah seeds from her . After a few rounds of training in the process of specialized organic farming techniques, the quality of her sal and mauah seeds has improved. With the help of the Pathways team, her collective strengthening with the self help group and engagement with the market traders has earned her a good name in the market . With the money she earned, Padmini repaid her loan and now she has been saving money for the education and health of her children.
She says, “After Pathways, I am confident about my work and have realized my potential as a woman farmer. I feel confident when I sell my seeds to the buyer and that too at a good price. There is a sense of achievement and I will never look back.”
Contributed by: Dr. Pradip Kumar Mohapatra