Hands that rock the cradle are the hands that do agriculture in Koodathampoyil, Kozhikode. Labouring in the plantain fields day in and day out, a Kudumbasree group, comprising seven housewives, has proved its might and inspired several to the farming profession.
“Earlier, we used to depend on men to meet simple needs at home. Now we have our own savings,” says Lasitha Koodathampoyil with a big smile.
When the group came to know about Kadalivanam, an agriculture project of Kayanna grama panchayat, Kozhikode, it was Lasitha who put forward the idea of a farm in her plot. Kayanna grama panchayat envisaged the Kadalivanam programme in 2011 with an aim to nurture green culture among the rustic people who primarily depend on farming.
Hailing from a farmers’ family, Lasitha has a close association with farmers. “Fortunately I am married to a farmer and his support and guidance helped my friends and myself to find a space among the farmers in the panchayat,” she says.
With the help of the panchayat authorities, an incomparable success has been scripted by the women here, says Kayanna panchayat president A M Ramachandran Master.
“While allotting plantain shoots to these women we were not sure about the success of the project. But to our wonder they produced high quality produce within a short span of time,” he says.
When asked about the success mantra, the members of Kudumbasree say in a unanimous voice, “Though we embarked on farming to eke out a decent income, gradually we took it as our passion.”
“I find solace in my farm when I am tensed and it makes me very happy,” says Shobhana Raghavan. “Agriculture made our life simple,” she says.
“This year MNREGA workers helped us to level the soil. Hence we could concentrate more on preparing fertilisers and pesticides.
Men in our family were also offered physical support to this venture,” she says.
“Earlier, we did not receive any recognition, but with the same feeling of a farmer we toiled and reaped success,” they chuckle while showing their plantain farm spread in one-and-a-half acre of land.
In their words, farming should not be underestimated since it really does well in the Kozhikode district. “Last year we got a bunch of bananas weighing 37 kg from a single plantain. To ensure a good yield, we always maintain planting distance. We do not rely on any other people to control the growth of weed,” says Reena, Asha, Chandrika and Sulochana, the proud farmers.
Whenever there is a marriage in Kayanna, banana leaves to supply food are offered by the women’s group here. The perspective of people towards agriculture at large requires a sea change. Women should be treated with equality, they say.