Interviews with the Community Resource Persons (crps) of serp (Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty) at Hyderabad Interview with Rama Devi

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Interviews with the Community Resource Persons (CRPs) of SERP (Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty) at Hyderabad

Interview with Rama Devi

Community Resource Person

You said that agriculture in general is not being profitable. As an example I will tell my own story – whether agriculture is profitable or not. My name is Rama Devi, Warangal district, Hasanparthy mandal, Dantupalli village. We are middle class farmers. We are the ones who face the major problems. We used to go to the fertilizer shop and ask for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They would provide these on credit and would enter the amount in our account. Like this we would get the inputs. In between, the traders would say that our loans are mounting and would threaten that they would not give any more credit. As there was no option we would get loan of Rs. 10,000 from another person. Ultimately when we would take the produce to the trader we wouldn’t get back a single rupee. We were not aware of the actual costs of the chemicals and how much the trader was charging in our account. We were just happy that he was giving the inputs on credit. That is why agriculture has become unprofitable to the middle class farmer and it has become a problem.

My husband is educated and couldn’t take up agriculture. My father-in-law died of heart attack. My husband could neither do agriculture nor complete his studies. In between I practiced agriculture for 4 years and did not find it to be profitable. I felt like selling off the land.

At this time Polam Badi was started in our village. I wondered how agriculture could be practiced without pesticides. Warangal is famous for cotton. At that time only non Bt varieties existed. I wondered whether it was possible to cultivate cotton without pesticides. We used to spray chemicals every week not knowing anything about the parasites and predators, nor the chemical that was being sprayed. If we saw a farmer mixing two or three chemicals then we would follow suit. We thought that people who were talking about NPM must be mad. But as my husband is educated he asked me not to brush this away and convinced me that there might be truth in it, or else why would Government send people to promote NPM and pay good salaries to them. He asked to me to attend these classes and learn. Though three women members registered their names, I was the only woman attending these classes. People passed comments on this. Once I started attending the classes, for the first time I came to know that there are many beneficial insects and that we were killing them. After learning this I did not take up Bt cotton. With non-Bt cotton itself I am able to get 15-17 quintals of yield. I helped my husband complete his post graduate studies. Then he got a job as a teacher. For two years his salary was Rs. 1200 per month and he had to go to another village. His salary was not sufficient for his petrol expenses. I helped him purchase a motorcycle and supported him in meeting the additional expenses. After 2 years his salary increased to Rs. 4000. It would barely cover his expenses.

With NPM agriculture there are no expenses, no need to go out and buy any chemicals. I prepare the concoctions and spray them. I get an income of Rs. 1.5 lakhs per year. Now my husband is getting a salary of Rs. 7000 per month out of which his expenses are Rs. 4000. Thus his income is Rs. 36,000 per year whereas I am getting a profit of Rs. 1.5 lakhs. Which is better – a job or agriculture? Agriculture is a job without tension. Job is full of tension you will always have to worry about what others (bosses) would say. In agriculture you are on your own.
Ends here

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