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Modernising Agricultural Practices in her Community – Meet Sukhiya

Meet Sukhiya Bai

Best Farming Practices

Sukhiya Bai, 32, lives in Betul, Madhya Pradesh, India with her two children and husband.

Over the last few years, Sukhiya has worked to change the agricultural practices of maize farmers in Betul. In doing so, she has earned herself the title of “ajeevika mitra”, which translates to a “friend who supports my livelihood.” She educates fellow women farmers about farming best practice – supporting their efforts to increase yield and, from there, their income and profit.

Sukhiya and her farming machinery

Demonstrating farm machinery

In addition to teaching her community about farming best practice, Sukhiya conducts live demonstrations on her farm. Here, she demonstrates seed and drilling machines to other farmers. When mechanization was still new in her area, Sukhiya taught the farmers to operate the machines. She visited their fields regularly to offer counsel and support.

Growing to meet her challenges

Sukhiya has faced many challenges – both personal and societal. Her approach to each challenge is the same – she faces it with a strong sense of self-belief. Over time, this self-belief has helped her grow into a confident woman carving her own path, while empowering other farmers to do the same.

Sukhiya delvering a speech

Sukhiya attended school up to Standard 5, one of the few people in her community to do so. As one of the more educated people in her community, the members of her smallholder group (SHG) 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 like the rest of the women in her village. Over time, she grew to become a valuable resource and a true service provider for the other women.

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Sharing agricultural knowledge

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 quality maize, sell the crops at higher prices and subsequently improve their livelihoods for the long term.

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