In Farming Himachal

Image: Himachali women farmers; Representative picture, Image Source: The Weather

Women farmers pave the way for agro marketing in Himachal’s Solan

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In an interesting development the women farmers of Jabal Jamrot, Haripur and Deothi panchayat of Himachal’s Solan district have banded together to make the first ever All Women Farmer Producer Company(FPC) to pave the way for Sustainable Food Systems Platform for Natural Farming in the state. Apart from the All Women FPC in Solan, another 3 FPCs have been formed in the hill state’s Chopal, Pachad and Karsog districts. 

The primary goal behind is to come up with a joint body to be able to coordinate the grown produce to selected buyers, giving the farmers better options and the freedom of higher price negotiation. The produce grown and sold is fully chemical free and naturally grown using low cost, non chemical and chemical resilient natural farming techniques that they were trained in under the Himachal’s government’s Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Kisan Yojana (PK3Y).

Out of the four, the Solan district’s All Women FPC is indeed the most unique as it comprises an all women management and by at large workforce. The average women working in the FPC are educated upto the Matric level but their zeal and drive to continue to learn and emerge as entrepreneurs through this venture is truly commendable. The Solan Natural Producer Company has a total of 10 shareholders; 5 of which are directors and the other 5 promoters.

In a statement to the Times of India, The FPC Chairwoman Radha Devi was reported as saying, “Chairman of FPC Radha Devi (41) said: “A shift to natural farming is the first step in saving agriculture from the chemical inputs that have increased expenditures, stagnated production, and brought on many diseases.”

Radha Devi originally hails from the Koti village and she too like her fellow women joined under the PK3Y back in 2019 and has been practicing natural farming techniques ever since and is delighted at the developments the initiative have brought in her as well as the neighbouring Durgi village among others.

The farmers grow a variety of fruits and vegetables and also sell milk products, however their only source of income is through selling these individually at the market dictated prices.

The Pradhan of Jabal Jhamlot Panchayat, Seema(also a member of the Board of Directors of the FPC) told TOI, “If we do the marketing collectively through an FPC, we can find out specific buyers for the natural produce and negotiate the price.”

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