An first sight, Raimati Ghiuria who lives with her husband and three children in Odisha’s Koraput District, seems like any other woman from the state. However, the resident of Nuaguda Village is a role model for many women in rural India. For, Raimati is a woman of many roles, a farmer, a community resource person and a trainer.
On International Women’s Day this year, Raimati was felicitated with an award presented by S. N. Mohanty, vice-chancellor of the Central University of Odisha, for the lead role she has taken in promoting organic farming as a woman farmer. Her farm and kitchen gardens are a model field for others and farmers and visitors from different places come on exposure visits to learn more about her organic initiatives.
Raimati has been a member the past few years of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation’s Mahila Kisan Sashakti-karan Pariyojana (MKSP), a programme for empowerment of women farmers. MKSP focuses on promotion of sustainable agriculture with reduced application of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. After Raimati attended a series of training programmes on non-pesticide management, integrated pest management, preparation of organic-fertilisers and organic-pesticides, she started adopting the practices in her own field.
Like many other small and marginal farmers, Raimati’s agricultural activity is carried on in just 3.8 acres of land. Most of this goes into paddy cultivation and a variety of vegetables are grown in 0.3 acres. Raimati herself prepares organic pesticides such as Handikhata, Neemastra, Agneyastra, Jeebamruta and organic fertilisers such as Hadri, vermi-compost and Amrutajal to ensure that her crops are completely organic. She has also developed a good mushroom cultivar and earns a substantial income. The Odisha Livelihood Mission has selected her as External Livelihood Supporting Person and is deputing her to other Blocks to act as a resource person.
(Courtesy: MS Swaminathan Research Foundation newsletter)