Mango production was never ‘king-size’ in the Saidanpur village of Barabanki due to water scarcity. But in 1965, a young woman of a royal family set out for the fields on a ‘palki’ and started turning around the fortunes of the orchards in Lucknow.
From behind her veil, the begum sahiba advised farmers how to increase cultivation. Consequently, adequate water supply was arranged and words of motivation from the learned lady instilled confidence among farmers who got down to work with all enthusiasm. The orchard began to flourish and yields multiplied year after year. Profits too rose from mere thousands to lakhs within a couple of years.
That was Begum Hamida Habibullah whose intellect and enthusiasm changed the face of the mango orchards in Saidanpur. Several varieties of mango, including Maliahabadi, Dussehri, Chausa, Langda and Safeda, were planted by the Begum herself, in conformation with the guidelines of the agriculture university. The saplings sown then have now grown into big trees that are producing quality mangoes.
At the Lucknow Mango Festival to be organised in Saidanpur village on June 23, one can have an insight into the contributions of Begum Habibullah and several other women farmers who have been nurturing the mango trees with all love and care.
The event is being hosted in the mango orchards by Habibullah Estate in association with Sunhara Prayas and Mandi Parishad. Hindustan Times is the media partner for the event.
Begum Habibullah said, “I have seen things changing in our orchards with the right guidance and technical know how. The plants were brought from Malihabad and farmers were made aware of the latest agri-techniques.”
Besides introducing the carbide-free mangoes this season, Sunhara Prayas has been striving hard to empower women farmers.
Sunadari Devi, a woman farmer of Gosainganj told HT, “I have been associated with the project for nearly six months now. The yields have increased by nearly 20% during this period alone.”
Vidya Devi, another farmer, said: “Mango crop alone decides how the year would be for the family. Since the major part of our income depends on the mango yield, the entire family is involved in its care.”
Training sessions have motivated several women farmers of the village to join hands with the male members of their family and assist in cultivation.