NATIONAL FARMERS’ DAY: Malwa women show the way
Even as Punjab is witnessing farmers’ suicides, some woman growers in the Malwa region are showing their mettle in agriculture.
Some of them are pursuing farming on their own while others are supporting their fathers or husbands.
Harjinder Kaur Uppal, 27, of Jagat Singh Wala village in Muktsar has been undertaking farming over five acres for the past 10 years.
“My father and three brothers died due to various diseases and there was no male member in our family. So I took up agriculture. Our debt-ridden family had to even sell some agricultural implements at one time. After working hard, I cleared all the debts. The villagers gave me full support,” says Uppal, who lives with her mother.
On farmer suicides, she says, “Farmers should avoid extravagant lifestyle and refrain from spending huge money on marriages to avoid debt, which is the main reason behind suicides.”
Sandeep Kaur, 17, of Lande Rode village in Muktsar, helps her father in agricultural chores. Sandeep is a Class 12 student of Government Senior Secondary School for Girls in Muktsar. After her school, she helps her father in farming.
“I have three daughters and Sandeep is the youngest. I believe that girls are equal to boys in every field. Sandeep can perform various agricultural operations, including driving a tractor,” said, Gurtek Singh, Sandeep’s father. Sandeep was recently honoured by Muktsar deputy commissioner MK Aravind under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.
Krishna Devi of Khaira Kalan village in Mansa district is also helping her husband Sultan in fig farming.
Gurpreet Kaur, a farmer from Doda village in Muktsar, had won the prestigious Krishi Karman award last year.
Women are also actively adopting organic farming. Rupsi Garg from Kheti Virasat Mission, said, “In 2010-11, we started spreading awareness among women by organiaing camps and rallies, encouraging them to take organic farming through kitchen gardens.”
She said, “At present, women are growing vegetables in kitchen gardens in 30 villages each in Faridkot and Barnala districts. A large number of women are also selling their products at fairs and festivals in various states by establishing self-help groups.”
“We sell pickles and other products through a self-help group. In kitchen gardens, we grow vegetables and also produce wheat in organic manner,” said Amarjeet Kaur of Bhotna village in Barnala.
Prof Simran Kang of department of economics and sociology, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), said, “A large number of women have taken to farming in the state after being trained by the university. However, it is unfortunate that in several cases, women are deprived of the benefits of various government schemes as the land is not registered in their names.”