Rukmila Wankhade: learning and doing

Rukmila is an active women leader who does different type of agriculture in her own land shows other community women that if we control resources and gain knowledge, it is possible to change our mindset and implement innovative ideas.

She belongs to Paardi Arsha village, well known for agriculture products. The entire community involved in farming. Their products go to various cities like Hyderabad, Chandrapur, Ahmedpur etc.

Rukmila Wankhade is an ordinary woman like others in this village;  is a member of  Yakvira SakhthiSHG. But what makes her different now is that she is a frontline leader who implements innovative ideas and practices in traditional agriculture.

How did she start?

When SSP visited this village, they mobilized  the community to do systematic farming activities that reduce chemical fertilizers, pesticides and increase more production to sustain in difficult climatic conditions.

Rukmila was part of the team of women who participated in an awareness programme organized by SSP. The team went on a field visit to Thurnala village where farmers have started producing vermin compost. Rukmila became interested to make this natural fertilizer and to try it in her own land. When she came back from the visit, she started small vermi compost in her compound. She has produced three quintals of vermin compost three times since March 2010. It took three months for the waste to turn into manure. She used it in half an acre of land where she was cultivating tomato. When she harvested the tomatoes and consumed it, she saw the difference in quality.  Motivated by the result, she has increased the area  from half an acre to one acre and also enlarged the size of the pit to increase the production of such compost. She has 10 acres of agriculture land. But she has started organic farming in half acre initially and has increased it to an acre now. She plans to cultivate Soyabean and thoor dal and to convert larger area into organic farming.  Except marketing, she does all the other agricultural operations.

There is a traditional marketing system in the village. The people call different markets over phone to find out the rates and assess which city has good rate on that day. They take the product in vehicles and go to that city  and sell the product directly. There is no middleman in between, so the profit is directly shared by the producers.

After this success more women came forward to start the organic farming from this village. Many people from neighbouring villages visited Rukmila’s farm and were motivated by her effort. She encourages the community and urges them to join in this initiative.

Earlier her husband was not supportive for this venture as he presumed it will not  yield much profit. After seeing the result of good quality of product, and the increasing demand in the market for organic products, he also wants to start organic farming in other varieties like cauli flower, cabbage etc.

– Swayam Shikshan Prayog, February 2012

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