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From a shy housewife to a lead farmer and later a Board of Director for an all-women Famer Producer Organisation, Rekha Goswami is an outshining example of what women can achieve in little or no time.

India, where more than 50 per cent of its population is involved in a farming or farming-related profession, offers challenging conditions to its farmers especially in terms of low yields and climate-related issues.

As a 51-year-old successful women farmer and a mother of two, Rekha Goswami from the village Raju Khedi has set a remarkable example for other women farmers in her community.

There was a time trepidation, and inhibitions about the world outside kept her involvement strictly inside the house. The repressed attitude always restricted her talents to grow strong. Even for the smallest of the work, she depended on her husband and later on her elder son.

Things started to change after she began participating in sustainable agriculture training sessions organised under the canopy of Good Farming – Good Food. Her hidden talent came to light as she increased her involvement in the activities. Many of the sessions are organised explicitly for women in farming. The idea behind the sessions is to increase women's participation in the farming sector and make them self-dependent.

Earlier, Rekha was oblivious to the various Government schemes meant to reach women involved in farming. After associating with Solidaridad, Rekha learned about various schemes and subsidies on vermicompost provided by the horticulture department. After receiving the proper guidance and consultation from Solidaridad, Rekha applied for and received the subsidy as well. The subsidy was then used to set up vermicompost near her field, and it helped her make farming more sustainable. The garlic grown under improved soil variety gave far better results. This also enabled her to obtain a better market price. Similarly, she adopted such practices for soy, wheat, garlic, and vegetables upon receiving the proper training.

Inspired and impressed by the results, Rekha roped in many of her friends into similar farming practices. The women from her village regularly attended farming demonstrations under the banner of Good Farming – Good Food.

Rekha and her friends also made great efforts at understanding the good agricultural practices required for Soy cultivation. Along with the practices, they were also provided with the necessary soy processing training. Under the training, they learned about preparing processed soy items.

Her growing involvement motivated other talented women farmers from across the village to come forward. They collectively participated in events organised by Good Farming – Good Food partners like- Nutri Month and Women's Day and presented their successful endeavours to the participants.

Rekha is now one of the board of directors of a Farmer Producer Organisation called Siddhpur Kisan Producer Company, made by and for the women in the farming community. The FPO has helped breed leadership qualities in its members. Rekha also involves herself regularly in the board meetings and actively participates in the decision-making process. She is also the lead behind educating many women farmers about government policies. Upon acquiring a hectare of land through a government scheme, Rekha now encourages and supports other women from her village to utilise government schemes and become an owner of land themselves. It is rare to see such cases in Indian farming society, where the ownership is often bestowed upon the men in the family. Such ownerships would encourage the involvement of women in farming and instil a much-needed leadership quality in rural women.

Her climb did not stop there. Rekha also presented her case in an event organised in the Netherland Embassy, Delhi, and participated in a workshop. So far, she is the only farmer from the district Sehore who has received a stage this grand, especially for presenting her challenges to a wide range of attendees ranging from Private Organisations and NGOs to Foreign and Government agencies.

Besides looking after her family, farms, and FPO, Rekha also runs a grocery shop from her house. Rekha has thus shown the world that women do not necessarily depend on men, and if given a chance, they can prove their worth in every opportunity that comes knocking on the door. Rekha credits Good Farming – Good Food for the gradual improvement in her confidence through the proper exposure. 

She is an inspiration to her friends and family, especially to her young daughter, who aspires to become as vibrant and active as her mother one day.