Lakshmi Sarah

Producer, Educator & Writer

“Hard work” (on what it takes to be a farmer)

Sarojany Devi has four daughters between age 14 and 20. All of her daughters are in school now. Sarojany manages 40 nali (20 nali = approx 1 acre) of land herself. Her daughters are unable to assist her and her husband cannot plough because he is ill. Her husband says that no one will farm here in the future once the daughters have moved to the families of their husbands, but Sarojany says, “if we can, we will do it, if we cannot, then we don’t know.”

Sarojany is 38, and she came to Sauri when she was 18 years old. Before marrying, she only learned how to cook. In Tonada village where she was born, she explains that there was another type of farming that uses more water. “Here the work is different.”

After she was married, her mother-in-law taught her farming. “They teach ‘little little’ and until I knew everything.” Saroj says that it took three to five years to gain experience in farming.

Sarojany says she “grows everything.”Generally, the family is able to support themselves from the land, “due to climate change we have to buy food sometimes.” “There is a very big problem with monkeys” she adds.

It takes hard work to be a farmer, according to Sarojany. Since January, she has had support in the form of the local Mahila Anna Swaraj (Womens Food Sovereignty Group). She collects all kinds of seeds and exchanges them with others in the village. The women’s group started in January and has already collected Rs 5,000 or Rs 6,000. “We discuss what work we have to do, about seeds, how to make compost…” Sarojany says. They also sing songs together.

Sarojany believes it is important for her daughters to be educated so that they can “Do well with farming.” Already she is teaching her daughters  “to make roti, to weed, to make compost, to clean.”

Concerning her daughters’ futures, she says, “That depends on luck. If they can do service that is good, if they do agriculture then she will do it well.” Sarojany received help for her farming work from her studies. She explains that she gained a better understanding of how much to sow which helps not to waste seeds. Sarojany says she is able to tell if it is a good seed or not by the yield: “If it gives a good yield, then it is good.”

Her husband believes it is important to grow food, because then it will be “pure.” According to her husband, if the rain is good they will exchange some crops for salt and if the harvest is enough, then they will sell some of the crops.

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This entry was posted on August 20, 2011 by in 20 Women Farmers, Uncategorized.

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