27-year-old Sunita Bai, an Adivasi woman farmer from the tribal dominated Jabla village in Chhattisgarh was facing a tough financial situation for many years, particularly due to limited crop production on her farmland and absence of additional livelihood avenues in the village.

Sunita lives with her husband, six year old son, two year old daughter, and mother-in-law. Sunita and her husband have struggled to provide enough food for every family member and are heavily dependent on local moneylenders for assistance, including marriage and medical ailments.

However, Sunita’s association with CARE India’s Where the Rainfall (WtRF) project in 2015 changed a lot for her and her family. Financial conditions improved once Sunita joined the village self-help group (SHG) and Village Development Committee (VDC), and received support on adopting improved agricultural practices such as a system of rice intensification (SRI) in paddy cultivation. Through this, Sunita was able to pay off family owned loans and also put an end to her husband’s frequent migration to other states in search of work.

“When I was facing some of the most difficult days in my life, the animator and the block coordinator for the village visited us and informed us about the project. They inspired me to join the SHG and subsequently I became a member of Maa Durga SHG and the VDC. I managed to save Rs 3000 in my SHG, and took a loan of Rs 1000 for other medical expenses of family members.”

Sunita Bai

The project also facilitated soil testing of Sunita’s land through Krishi Vigan Kendra (Farm Science Centre) following which she used organic manure as per suggestions. Additionally, Sunita now uses an improved paddy variety, known as Pratikshya. She is now motivating other women farmers in her village to adopt SRI during the SHG and VDC meetings.