Organically inspiring – the tale of an Odisha woman farmer
March 2017: On first sight, Ms Raimati Ghiuria who lives with her husband and three children in Koraput district, seems like any other woman from Odisha. However, this resident of Nuaguda village is a role model for many women like her. For Ms Raimati is a woman of many roles, a farmer, a Community Resource Person and a trainer.
On International Women’s Day this year, Raimati was felicitated with an award presented by Dr S.N. Mohanty, Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Odisha, for the lead role she has taken in promoting organic farming as a woman farmer. Her farm and kitchen gardens are a model field for others and farmers and visitors from different places come on exposure visits to learn more about her organic initiatives.
Ms Raimati has been a member of MSSRF’s (Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana-MKSP), a programme for empowerment of women farmers for the past few years. MKSP focuses on promotion of sustainable agriculture with reduced application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. After Ms Raimati attended a series of training programs on Non-Pesticide Management, Integrated Pest Management, preparation of organic-fertilizers and organic-pesticides she started adopting these practices in her own field.
Like many other small and marginal farmers, agricultural activity is carried on in just 3.8 acres of land. Most of this goes into paddy cultivation and a variety of vegetables are grown in 0.3 acres. Ms Raimati herself prepares organic pesticides such as Handikhata, Neemastra, Agneyastra, Jeebamruta and organic fertilizers like Hadri, vermicompost and Amrutajal to ensure that her crops are completely organic.
She has also developed a good mushroom cultivar and earns a substantial income. The Odisha Livelihood Mission has selected her as ELSP (External Livelihood Supporting Person) and is deputing her to other Blocks to act as a resource person. She has now become an inspiration for other people – both men and women to move towards organic farming.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.