Meet Sukhiya from Madhya Pradesh
Sukhiya Bai, 32, lives in Juwadi village in the Ghodadongri block of Betul district in Madhya Pradesh with her two children and husband.
Over the last four to five years, Sukhiya has taken it upon herself to bring about a change in how maize farmers in Betul operate, and has earned herself the title of “ajeevika mitra”, which translates to a “friend who supports my livelihood.”
She does this by educating fellow women farmers about the best practices in maize farming – supporting them in increasing their yield, and subsequently their income and profit.
In addition to teaching her community about best practices, Sukhiya often conducts live demonstrations on her farm, showing farmers how to use the seed and drill machines.
When the mechanization was new to farmers in her area, Sukhiya patiently taught the farmers how to operate the machine, and offered regular counsel and support by visiting their fields regularly.
In her journey, Sukhiya has faced many challenges owing to personal and societal reasons but she faces each one by believing in herself – she has groomed herself to become a confident woman who is paving her own path while empowering other farmers.
Since Sukhiya is one of the few people in her community who attended school up to standard 5, the members of her smallholder group (SHG) have appointed her as the SHG accountant. Once the group started discussing ways to improve their livelihoods, she encouraged the women farmers to step into commercial farming.
Initially, Sukhiya used to perform household chores just like the rest of the women in her village, but with time, she became a resource and a true service provider for these women.
With the goal of increasing income of the SHG in the village, Sukhiya trained other women farmers with the support of Corteva Agriscience – implementing processes to explore the market and sell their produce at a profit.
These initiatives led by Sukhiya changed the dynamics of maize cultivation in Betul – enabling maize farmers to produce better maize, sell them at better prices and subsequently improve their livelihoods for the long term.