Women bring changes in agriculture

Krishi dooths (agriculture information assistants) are making small waves in agriculture villages in Washim.

The SSP survey of the selected 5 villages in 2010, found that there is a need to usher in a set of new agricultural practices in order to increase the production and reduce investment. Therefore, SSP facilitated partnership with Agricultural University, Akola to train community on new practices and techniques in agriculture.

After the training, SSP started agriculture information centres in villages that provide information to farmers. There are a total 18 dooths based in 25 villages in Washim district.  Each dooth targets an average 500 households. They are slowly changing the mind set of the farmers to adopt a more sustainable and environment friendly practices and are attempting to convert the farming community away from the existing harmful practices that impact the environment.

Krishi dooths instil confidence among farmers on the benefits of new farming practices. These messengers are real agriculture practitioners who teach the other farmers, benefits of friendly pests, use of bio-pesticides, steps in seed preparation, soil testing, timing for sowing and ways to reduce the use of  chemical pesticides and to optimize the efficient use of appropriate chemical fertilizers and give them information on available government schemes. Sangeetha and Varsha are women Krishi dooths who started their work in February 2010. They organise weekly meetings for the above purpose.

Now the community knows about pesticides and fertilisers that are cost effective and less harmful.  This kind of consumer education will prevent the shop keepers cheating people for more profit. Farmers now demand specific products from the shop keepers.

Krishi dooths also organise exposure visits to villages and agriculture extension centres to learn more advanced practices. When they did an impact survey after 6 months in villages, it found that atleast Rs 5000 reduction in expenditure in farming by per farmer from one crop.

– Swayam Shikshan Prayog, February 2012

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