Warsina is a farmer from Taoru block, Nuh district, in Haryana. She has a family of six, and agriculture is their primary occupation. Her family has three acres of agricultural land where she works regularly, particularly engaging in labor-intensive activities such as sowing and harvesting, among others. Though Warsina has worked long in the farming sector, she has poor awareness of sustainable agriculture and water conservation practices. Like other women farmers of her village, Warsina used traditional farming methods, which leads to degradation of soil that in turn lowers crop productivity.
In April 2021, a Women Farmer School (WFS) was set up in her village as part of a CSR-supported project implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation. Warsina became interested in joining the structured monthly WFS sessions to learn about sustainable practices on water conservation and agricultural and allied activities. She attends these sessions regularly, and has gained awareness about sustainable agricultural practices, and also started developing confidence and articulation skills.
In September 2021, at one of the WFS sessions, the use of balanced fertilizers in mustard crop was discussed. Warsina learned about the use of micronutrients as fertilizers such as zinc, potash, sulphur, among others. She also learned that inclusion of micronutrients in the soil would improve the quality and quantity of crop yield and rectify soil damage caused by the excessive use of urea and DAP, the most frequently used fertilizers in the villages of Nuh. Warsina convinced her family members about the utility of adopting micronutrients in mustard crop. Then she not only adopted the balanced fertilizers, but also spread the word about it in the community. Akhtar, who is a farmer from the same village, came to know of the use of micronutrients from Warsina, and adopted the same in one acre of his agricultural land. He has also started noticing improved crop quality, like broader leaves and darker color, after thirty days of sowing.
The continuous capacity building of change agents like Warsina facilitates the further spread of information about what she learns at WFS sessions to other farmers of her village.
Author: Debika Goswami
(Debika is senior program lead, Local Participation and Sustainability)