Hundreds of women farmers adopted climate-resilient farming
Uma Karad, a marginal farmer in Maharashtra’s drought-prone Osmanabad area, has only one acre of land. However, with a one-acre climate-resilient agricultural plan, she not only earns ₹50,000 per month but also provides organic food for her family. Hundreds of women in Maharashtra, including Uma, have adopted this concept, which was recognised at the COP27 by the Global Center for Adaptation (GCA).
‘With only one acre of land, we couldn’t withstand drought and other challenges.’ The loan was the only way to keep farming going. We got produce worth ₹20-30,000, with roughly ₹16,000 going to fertilisers. ‘I used to work as a day wage labourer for ₹50 per day because agriculture was not a successful industry,’ Uma said as she told her story of perseverance.
She learned about climate-resilient farming from other female farmers and Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP), a non-governmental organisation that works with women farmers. For traditional farming households, the slogan of climate-resilient farming was simple but difficult to grasp.
The key to this model is the use of biofertilizers and pesticides, the preservation and exchange of local seeds, the diversification from single to multiple food crops, the increase in the number of crop cycles, the selection of water efficient and short term crops, the emphasis on water conservation using micro irrigation systems, and the diversification into agri-allied businesses.
Women farmers from Marathwada
Uma began experimenting on about 5 guntha land and also purchased a cow. She began growing to assure her family’s food security, and her organic produce was in high demand. ‘I planted corn in 10 guntha and harvested 15 quintals.’ I gradually expanded the number of cows until I now have 10 cows and a monthly income of ₹50,000 from my dairy business. ‘Everything I use in my field for growing and feeding my cows is grown on my farm,’ Uma explained.
Women taking leadership
‘Because males control all farming choices, no one originally listened to me.’ But I insisted on cultivating in 10 gunthas. I began farming veggies using this technique (climate-resilient model) and earned ₹30,000 in one go. We now apply this strategy on one acre and grow 32 different crop varieties. ‘We also use some of the vegetables to make items,’ said Sanjeevani Mahajan of Osmanabad.
Deepali Suryawanshi of Latur noted that this agricultural practise has helped her maintain her family and that she has made her two-acre farm sustainable by adding extra industries like as poultry and dairy.
At the COP27, SSP received the Local Adaptation Champions Award for assisting female farmers in adopting more resilient and sustainable farming methods.
‘The prize is in acknowledgment of women farmers’ efforts to design and implement climate-resilient farming.’ Women have changed the agricultural narrative in drought-prone areas of the state,’ stated Upmanyu Patil, SSP’s Director of Programs.