An Emerging Woman Farmer

Ms. Runu Murmu, a woman farmer from the Jorhat district of Assam took to organic agriculture after receiving training from the facilitating partner organisation. She inspired other women in the village to practice organic agriculture, and formed a group of women farmers. This group is practicing collective as well as individual cultivation.

Ms. Runu Murmu, (35) has emerged as one of the women farmer leaders in Panjan village of Titabor Block under Jorhat district of Assam. Her husband, a private school teacher is the sole bread earner of the family. With four children, two sons and two daughters, Runu’s early married life was confined to household chores with small kitchen gardening. In the initial stage of her kitchen gardening in a small piece of land of about a bigha, she used chemical fertilizer and pesticide expansively to yield high and rapid produce for the family’s consumption.

However, after attending farmers’ club meetings and a number of training programmes organized by Seva Kendra Dibrugarh (SKD) her interest in organic farming, integrated pest management and traditional knowledge increased. This knowledge enabled her to start farming on wider scale to earn additional income with which she could enrol her children in formal schooling. Runu discontinued using chemicals and pesticides in her garden since 2014, and instead switched to using compost and manure. She planted seasonal vegetables like jika, cucumber, ladies finger, ginger, rice gourd, bitter gourd, beans, pumpkin etc., while also practicing multiple and seasonal cropping. Through information provided in the trainings, Runu has networked with the local shopkeepers to sells off her surplus produce at a wholesale price and earns about INR. 10,000 per month. Promising agricultural production has motivated her to add another plot of land to her existing cultivable land. Today, she stands an inspiration to many women and men farmers in her village.

“Organic products saistho karone bhaal aru income barhe, aamak aji aidor e keti kora ussith-saistho aru poribhekh karone,”(meaning that the organic products are good for health, environment and income, and should be the way in which agriculture should be practiced) says Runu.