Agents of change


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How two women growers have overturned their lives and are leading by example

Rekha Balakrishnan recently shared the story on online news outlet, YourStory of two women growers in West Bengal who are becoming agents of change within their communities.

MALATI and Shamima, women potato farmers from villages in West Bengal, have been empowered by PespiCo’s and USAID’s Sustainable Farming Program. The training programme educates them on sustainable farming practices, best irrigation and crop rotation techniques, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship.

Malati Malik, of Harishchandrapur village, belongs to a potato farming household and has been working with PepsiCo India for over two years. A farmer for the past 22 years, Malati, along with her husband, owns 0.8 acres of farmland. She used to help her husband in the field but had no experience in crop control or financial training. The programme has helped to change that, so she is now well-versed with the potato growing process and has also been able to educate her husband on various aspects like the nutrition potato plants need, how to deal with common pests, etc, which has led to a direct impact on profits.

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Meanwhile, Shamima, of Molaypur village, was a home-maker and wife in a potato farming household before joining PepsiCo and USAID’s Women Empowerment Program. Today, she is also the group leader of the Eid Mubarak Self Help Group.

She told YourStory: She explains: “PepsiCo India trains us on different aspects of growing potatoes, advising us on the right kind of pesticide and fertiliser, due to which our yield has also improved. I am now independently working in the field and supplying potatoes to PepsiCo India. Additionally, my other SHG members and I could produce equivalent produce in quality and quantity from a unit area of land like other male farmers in the community. Now, I can support my husband in his business and other fellow members on different stages of farming whenever needed.”

To read the full article, click here.

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