Stories of Change

From a Beneficiary to an Entrepreneur – Creating Model Farms

Sonam Devi, living in Jharki village in Koderma district of Jharkhand went a step ahead from being a mica collector to an agricultural entrepreneur. The journey of Sonam Devi started from being a wife to a mother of three kids, who skipped their school to collect mica. Being a cultivator of paddy on 25 decimal of land also could not add to the family’s income as the yield was very low.

The family lacked exposure in ideas to expand their livelihood options due to lack of knowledge, training and support until ATG’s initiative began in their village to enhance incomes of such families by exploring newer opportunities in livelihood creation. Sonam Devi, already a member of a Self Help Group called ‘Saraswati Mahila Group’ came upfront to join hands in the project. Field visits, technical inputs and skill enhancement on new agricultural practices, financial support and linkage with SHG, live demonstrations and support sessions under ATG project, drew Sonam Devi and her husband to grow ‘Brinjals’ on their farmland. Surprisingly, the blocks kept clearing from the pathways of Sonam to excel in the field of agriculture.

In the beginning ATG assisted Sonam in receiving a loan of INR 5500 from her SHG. Now from start to finish, ATG’s agriculture expert helped her in upgrading her knowledge and skills on improved farming methods to grow brinjal in 10 decimals of land. Inputs such as seeds and manure, technical training on nursery raising, transplanting, fencing, soil and pest management was also provided.

Vitalised Sonam Devi didn’t let her spirits dim when she started facing challenges in nursery bed raising and marketing of her produce. To overcome these challenges, ATG prepared a chart to check the exact amount for watering in those nursery beds which in small span of time prevented the soil from drying and gave 100% results. For marketing, ATG met the local vendors and established rapport for selling the Brinjals.

Today, it is unbelievable to see the fruits of hard labour which Sonam Devi put in to grow Brinjals. Her farm has taken the shape of a ‘Model farm’ for everyone like her in the village. With just an input cost of INR 1200, she is earning INR 8300 profit apart from family consumption. It is exceptional to see a farmer like Sonam and her husband exhibiting good agriculture practices in a little span of time. She has set a true example for others by earning additional income through just one vegetable! She has started saving for her children’s studies and investing in small agricultural equipment for a better and secure future for her family.

In Sonam Devi’s words- “I thank ATG for teaching me what we couldn’t do in our past as I earned beyond my expectation. And I feel that I could gain more income in agriculture than from mica.”

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