Ten single women hailing from economically backward classes, with no support after their husbands either left them or died, have come together to till 11 acres of land at Kurugunta village on the Anantapur-Ballari Road, setting an example for women empowerment.
The women, natives of the YSR Colony of Kurugunta, have become the backbone of their families. They have set an example for others to grow organic crops, without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. In addition to supporting their families, they support an innovative programme for 23 diabetics in the village.
“The initial support came from the Rural And Environment Development Society (REDS). We named the group Mana Bhoomi Women’s Collective Farming. We have been cultivating a stretch in the rain-deficit Anantapur Rural mandal for the past three years,” says Chelimi Alivelamma, a member of the group.
Now, the group is self-sufficient and grow millets, vegetables and fruits such as guava, custard apple. It has adopted the ‘Navadhanya concept’ where every kind of cereals and pulses are grown to support a family and make agriculture a profitable venture.
Director C. Bhanuja, who actively advises the group, says that the land owner have given the land on lease and the group earns ₹40,000 a month after all expenses. It has forged a tie-up with a Farmer Producers’ Organisation (FPO) in Kadiri for sale of their produce.
Inspired by health concepts promoted by independent nutritionist Khader Vali, the group cooks food three times a day for the diabetics. These people do not eat anything from outside and have been on a millet diet prescribed by the nutritionist. They are part of a month-long experiment if this food can reduce their blood sugar levels, says Ms. Alivelamma.
The sugar levels of the diabetics were tested when the programme was launched on August 21. Another round of testing was done on September 9. After the completion of a month, they will get their sugar levels tested to record the difference.