Anu Devi, a Maha Dalit women, was living in extreme poverty situation before she invited a PRAN (Preservation and Proliferation of Rural Resources and Nature), the then PRADAN staff to support her for SRI cultivation in the year 2008. She had seen SRI crops in neighbouring villages Sekhwara, Ghantadih and Satgharwa in 2007 and was determined to learn the package of practice. She was the first and only one woman to transplant paddy through SRI method in her 5 kattha (roughly 20 decimal) land in 2008. The details of inputs are as follows:
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This was all she invested in cash. But the real investment was her more than 100% effort, conviction and confidence. That year she harvested 5.6 quintal paddy. Her experimentation and high yield strengthened not only her own conviction but also brought 2 other farmers in the fold of SRI (wheat) in the coming Rabi season. All of them harvested a yield around 1.6 times higher than the traditional practices. These live experiences filled villagers with excitement and confidence and they started building close relation with the PRAN staffs. PRAN with support from Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (SDDT), invested in the potentials of these dalit farmers to come out of extreme poverty situation. As a result, next year 22 families cultivated SRI paddy in a total 7 acre land. Out of this the share of Anu Devi was her entire 1 acre land. This proved a turning point in her life. Before introduction of SRI, she could feed her family only for 6-7 months from her own land. For rest of the months she and her husband had to work as wage labourers in the nearby bone factory and brick kiln. But this year she harvested a total 22.4 quintal paddy despite irregular rainfall which was sufficient for more than one year. This year she also cultivated creepers on machan (raised bed) in the banks of Jamunai rivulet (Government land used by villagers) and earned cash profit of Rs. 12,000. Gradually she increased crop intensity and area through share cultivation (a widespread system in the area through which marginal and small farmers cultivate big farmers’ land and the produce is equally shared). At present she cultivates 3 acre SRI paddy, 40 decimal SRI wheat and 1.3 acres of SRI vegetables cumulatively. This year, she is cultivating 50 decimal of vegetables through drip irrigation (a solar drip irrigation system set up in the village with support from Jain Irrigation and PRAN). Last year she sold rice of around Rs.20, 000 and vegetables of Rs.25, 000-30,000.
All these have changed her life tremendously. She has constructed a pucca building with contribution of Rs.48, 000 from Indira Awas Yojana. She is sending her two youngest children to a Missionary school while her elder two children never went school. Now she and her husband are engaged in their field round the year and never go for wage labor. At present she is a much confident and satisfied woman for her own success through SRI. She is also proud of being the first person to invite PRAN in her village which resulted into adopting practice of SRI by all the 37 families who have land.