Keonjhar: Tribal women farmers from Santhal community have managed to become self reliant by taking up finger millet cultivation through integrated farming methods as part of a livelihood initiative at Guhaldihi village under Sadar block in Keonjhar district.
The women, all members of a Budhabudhi women self-help group (SHG), have set an example for others to emulate by taking up the cultivation for the first time on seven acre of fallow land.
The women have achieved the feat during the lockdown which was once thought to be impossible for other farmers. The women have garnered success with the help and assistance provided by a voluntary outfit IDA and funds available from the district mineral foundation.
They have also made best use of the technical assistance provided by the agriculture department to reap the harvest. Reports said that finger millet is much in demand as it is beneficial for health due to presence of calcium, iron and fibre in the food grain.
It is also free from gluten. The women were drawn towards this cultivation after their president Hemant Majhi persuaded them to take up cultivation.
The persuasion worked following which the women farmers Saraswati Majhi, Marnabati Majhi, Jashobanti Majhi, Sagi Munda, Nimanti Majhi, Mama Hembram, Phulamani Majhi, Sita Munda and Hemanti Majhi prepared seven acre of fallow land for the cultivation.
The voluntary outfit has supplied them with 4.200kg of seeds for the cultivation. They expect that they will harvest around 49 quintals of finger millet which they will sell at Rs 3,377 per quintal to the state government.
When contacted, Debashis Das, coordinator of the outfit said that the women will get Rs 200 per acre from the state government after their harvest.