Climate change affects men & women differently. In India, more than 84% of women are involved in agricultural activities; as a result they often become the greatest victims of climate change. They who gather the wood, carry the water and grow the crops, suffer the most; given their dependency on subsistence crops, limited access to resources and lack of decision making powers. Rising male migration and recurring floods added to the woes of such women farmers, in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.
But these women had ALL the making of a champion!
They took a re-look at the land & the local ecology, dusted their forgotten traditional knowledge, incorporated provisions of government programmes & GEAG's skills and embraced a holistic approach to innovate and adopt agricultural methods that would make their livelihoods profitable & resilient.
The champions- in pictures.
Phoolpatti Devi, true to her name, started a nursery as it requires less water & can withstand drought conditions. Today she earns profit and the family has food to eat throughout the year.
Sayda Khatoon began mixed vegetable farming, applying organic manure to the soil. Today she grows more than 30 varieties of vegetables in her 1 acre land.
Sandhya Devi grows sunhemp after wheat harvesting, and uses it as green manure for next paddy crop to improve soil quality. Sunhemp fibre is also used to make ropes, helping her garner profit.
Adopting a loft system, Gulabi Devi, prevented her vegetables from getting spoilt in the water logged fields. She has been able to sell & make profits upto Rs 1.8 lakhs.
Kalawati has gone organic. She replaced chemical fertilisers with bio-manure & bio- pesticides, reducing her input costs & providing healthier vegetables.
A rice variety that gives good production even if it is submerged in water for 18 days, proved to be a blessing for Shakuntala Devi whose farm suffered from erratic floods & heavy rainfall leading to waterlogging.
This is our first series of real life resilient stories, originally featured in the booklet 'Inclusive Resilience Stories of Small Marginal Woman Farmers' by Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG), 2015