Kirlapal women take to agriculture, turn bread earners for their families

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Women from Kirlapal Dabal village stand in the midst of marigold flowers cultivated by them recently.

nirgosh gaude | NT

Ponda: Womenfolk from Kirlapal, Dabal in Dharbandora taluka have become bread earners for their families following the mining closure that has impacted the flow of income of their families drastically. For the past few years, they have been successful in earning livelihood by undertaking vegetable cultivation.

Around 50-60 women from Kirlapal, representing around ten self-help groups (SHGs), and from around 40 families are into agriculture and allied activities since the last few years through their experimental farming and marketing practices with the help of the agriculture department. These women have become major contributors to their families’ income after the mining crisis hit their main income source.

So far, all these families from Kirlapal-Dabal area have become self-reliant. They are producing their daily requirement of food, especially vegetables, and also fetching sizeable income through their agricultural produce.

Few years back, mining activity was the main source of income for the people of Kirlapal Dabal wherein almost all male members worked with mining firms or were into mining related or dependent business. With mining in the state getting completely halted in 2018, almost all bread earners of these families were out of job, thereby severely impacting their income flow.

Following the loss of income, these women decided to take the lead and through their self-help groups opted for commercial agricultural production, especially vegetables. Initially they started on a small scale on the land available with them and after experimenting it for some time, they carried out their activity on a large scale and are since raising crops on land taken on lease.

Vegetables cultivated by these women include green chilies, red amaranth, long beans, radish, brinjal, turnip and cluster beans. Along with vegetables, the women also cultivate marigold flowers, mushroom, sweet corn and onions.

“We were undertaking vegetable cultivation in the past but it was limited to our family needs. After the closure of mining and lack of source of income, we decided to go in for commercial cultivation. The agriculture department helped us to cultivate, while horticulture helped us market the produce,” Leela Gaonkar, a farmer from Dabal, said.

Gaonkar is one of the prominent producers of vermin-compost in Kirlapal-Dabal area. She is also into onion, mushroom, vegetable and marigold flower production through her group name Laxmi Self-help Group.

Speaking about these women farmers, Dharbandora Zonal Agriculture Officer (ZAO) Nagesh Komarpant said these women are very hard working and into serious agricultural business. “Best thing about them is that they are experimenting with various crops in their own style and techniques. Secondly, they are taking land on lease for cultivation and fetching good income from it to make a living,” he said. Almost all women have become main contributors to their family income and their male partners are supporting them in their ventures, Komarpant said. 

As per information, there are around ten self-help groups in the village comprising around 50-60 women, who are focussing on agricultural production through their groups. Out of these ten groups, four are the most prominent ones and doing a fantastic job. These include Balsati, Sateri, Mallikarjun and Laxmi self-help groups.

Besides supplying vegetables to the horticulture department, these women played a major role in supplying various types of vegetables to their village and the neighbouring areas during the lockdown period. During this period, the women supplied around seven types of vegetables.

Three self-help groups from the Kirlapal-Dabal area are also into vermin-composting and yearly ten tonne of compost is produced by them. Interestingly, the market has reached their door to purchase their compost and recently, Krishi Vigyan Kendra assured them to purchase their entire produce.

During the rainy season, the ZAO at Dharbandora provided these groups with 1,200 seedlings of marigold flowers and the self-help groups produced and sold around 2,500 kg of flowers recently.