Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Calculated risk on new vegetable farming benefits community

By Ms Jind Doraiburu, Jharkhand

Women farmers from the villages adjoining Talaburu in the West Singhbhum district of
Jharkhand State in India frequent the home of Ms Jind Doraiburu seeking her counsel. The
confident 32-year-old who tasted success in a very short time span has been encouraging
more women farmers into vegetable farming.

The trellis of success, Jind Doraiburu
Paddy rice is the main crop in the region of West Singhbhum district, the home of the tribal Ho community. Socially isolated, many of them were unaware of the option of diversifying their cropping with vegetables.

AVRDC with support from the NGO Pradan is working in 72 villages in Jharkhand to promote new vegetable cropping options, safe vegetable production and home gardens under the project “Improving livelihoods with innovative cropping systems on the East India Plateau” funded by ACIAR.

In 2013 Ms Doraiburu was one of the 25 women farmer researchers selected by their
communities to conduct research trials as a part of the project. The AVRDC team introduced
her to trellis cultivation of cucurbits
during the rainy season. In the first year she was one of
only five farmers who took up the challenge of growing bottle gourd in this way.

The experiment failed.

The fruiting crop was destroyed due to flooding through her small plot, but she realized the
potential of the idea if the right field was used.

Undaunted, in 2014 she started again, this time deciding to grow trellised cucumbers in a 180m2 field where she had grown maize the previous year.

She said, “I had a dual challenge over me with these research trials. One was proving that
women can take a risk in trying new things in farming and the second was to prove that the
diversification of crops with cucumbers on a trellis will bring in more income”.

And it worked.

She was able to harvest about 365 kg of cucumbers for an average price of 20 rupees per
kilogram. Her total income for the season was 7300 rupees, five times more than the
investment of 1250 rupees and seven times more than what she usually gets by growing maize or rice in the same plot. The income also came in from August to October when there is normally no other money available. It helped her pay back the loan she got from her self-help group for medical treatment and the rest was invested in pesticides for her tomato cultivation.

Ms Doraiburu is now widely known for her promotion of trellis production methods and she is keen to continue her crop experiments, and to encourage other tribal women to emulate her success.

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