Sukmani Nag, a resident of Dhodrepal’s Patelpara hamlet in the Bastar district of the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, oozes confidence as she speaks about solar-powered irrigation, at a meeting with six other women from her village. She emphasises how the solar-powered lift irrigation system has helped farmers in the area.
A tribal farmer from Madhya Pradesh has been conserving indigenous seeds for nearly four decades. These seeds require less water, are suitable for local climate and terrain, and are cheaper alternatives to hybrid seeds, she says. The adivasi farmer also plans to use her seed bank as an asset to pay off loans.
"We were largely reliant on paddy for our sustenance prior to 2016, when PRADAN NGO introduced us to vegetable cultivation" Sunita Hasdeo, a 26 year old explained to us while travelling around her vegetation, "In 2017, I cultivated Brinjal in upper land, then Bitter gourd, and in 2019, I grew Brinjal again." Sunita, a woman from the Santhal tribe, is uneducated, yet she appreciates the PRADAN's assistance.
In Odisha's Mayurbhanj, when tribal families lost jobs and access to the forests during the pandemic and the lockdowns, many of them faced hunger and poverty. Since May 2020, women farmers have been cultivating 'nutrition gardens' in their front and back yards, providing food and income security
India had the most undernourished and anaemic women even before the pandemic: 125 million women. Now, women in India’s poorest states have less food, heightening the risks of anemia: impaired children, a lowered work ability and health crises they cannot afford. We report from marginalised communities in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.