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Friday, June 13, 2014

Why 30 women rent two acres of land together

A group of women cultivates vegetables in a collective farming project in Jharkhand




 A handful of rice 
The women's group also manages a grain bank: Every day, the women put some rupees and a handful of rice aside. The grain is sold or shared with the villagers who are in need. With the money and the earnings the villagers finance special projects like the collective farming. Or they support people who take part in campaigns of Ekta Parishad like Jan Satyagraha. In that way more than 80 of the 600 inhabitants of the village were able to join the march in 2012.

It’s harvesting time in Sewai. The small village belongs to the state of Jharkhand in the eastern part of India. 600 person live here. Right now, the women are picking vegetables. „We harvest ladies' fingers, bitter melons, and long beans and also pumpkins, cucumber and corn", says Munni, a women's activist of the village.

The farming project was initiated by Ekta Parshad and it's called „collective farming“. As Subhdra Devi, women's group coordinator of Ekta Parishad, came to the village she wanted the women to cultivate the fields together. Her aim is that they have less cost and more earnings:  "In the beginning they were hesitant, but I was able to convince them. In the meantime the project is working without my help. Collective farming creates jobs in the villages and helps to reduce migration to cities.“

The women of Sewai cultivate two acres of land. Around 30 women are involved in the farming project. Every morning, 10 different women go to the field to water it. They participate voluntarily besides their daily work - because the project makes them more self-sufficient. „Due to collective farming our unity has been strengthened and now we have some savings in our accounts”, explains social activist Geeta. They already know what they want to do with their earnings, as co-worker Munni tells: „We want to enlarge the agricultural land and to produce more vegetables - so that we can sell them at the market."
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