Rajkumari Devi is no astrologer. But with self-acquired expertise in agriculture she has become proficient in assessing the quality of the soil in her area and ensuring successful harvests. Through the experience of three decades ‘Kisan Chachi’, or ‘Farmer Aunty’ as she is called, has learnt all the nuances of good farming practices. Today, this 58-year-old mother of three grown up children cycles through the dusty lanes of the villages in Bihar’s Muzzaffarpur district, giving tips to people on kitchen farming and on developing the right agri-based products for business. ‘Kisan Chachi’ has also been able to mobilise more than 300 women to form Self Help Groups and become financially independent.
How did Rajkumari get the nickname of ‘Kisan Chachi’? Laughing, she explains, “Since most people in the area called me ‘Chachi’ (aunty), and I also was a successful ‘kisaan’ (farmer), everyone started calling me ‘Kisan Chachi’.” Although at first glance she appears to be like any ordinary village woman, the moment Rajkumari starts talking about farming practices she emerges the true “expert” that she is. In fact, people from across the block regularly invite her to assess their land and predict the quality of their crops. “I am no scientist. But over the years I have come to know the soil of this area well. I might not be 100 per cent right always, but I do know what can grow in this region,” she says.
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