Seasons may come and go, people shall be remembered and forgotten, the good deeds you do won’t linger on for long, but an idea lasts forever. An idea is something you cannot destroy but something that connects generations.
Thus, I submit to you that if you have an idea, make sure you pursue it. Here is a story about how a simple idea brought a change in another life.
Anita Devi, who is in her late 40s, belongs to Anantpur, an impoverished village in Nalanda district, Bihar. Her family had to face hardships because of poverty. Anita would manage all the household chores, as her husband was the only person who worked day and night to make ends meet. She found herself helpless in the situation. She then decided to take charge of her life and earn something for her family.
Anita approached the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Harnaut in Nalanda to find a solution to her problems. The officers there recommended her to develop mushrooms. Without any thought, she began her rather uncertain adventure in good fortune. She attained basic education in rising mushrooms from Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University in Pusa, Samastipur district and GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Uttarakhand and also learnt about mushroom seed manufacturing. From then on, there was no looking back.
The idea of mushroom farming turned her life upside down. Anita began her venture in 2010 but this new concept was not easily accepted by all. She would often hear words of discouragement for growing gobar chitta (wild mushroom). These tiny issues were of least concern to her. She faced challenges in growing mushrooms, as it is not that easy to grow them.
Sometimes, problems lead us to something bigger and better as when God closes one door, he surely opens another. This is exactly what happened in the following years. Anita would buy 20 kg of seeds from Rajendra Agriculture University as it was unavailable locally. When her workforce and the demand for seeds increased, she requested the university to give her 300 kg of seed. Anita was refused on the grounds that so much cannot be provided to a single buyer.
The only way out for her was to set up a mushroom seed production facility. The finances were a problem but that’s where luck stepped in, in the form of the National Horticulture Mission. They provided nearly Rs 15 lakh under the subsidy scheme.
Reaping the fruits of labor
Having been through all these troubles and circumstances, Anita is now reaping the sweet fruits of all her hard work. Her success has spoken for her. Anantpur has been declared as a mushroom village and she is locally known as the Mushroom Mahila. Anita’s husband Sanjay Kumar now helps her with her projects and also runs a garment shop near Madhopur Bazaar. Her two sons are pursuing commencement in horticulture and her daughter is pursuing a B.Ed program.
In the past seven years, Anita has not only modified her own future but has also carved a beautiful future for many women of her village through mushroom farming. The women in the profession are now independent and are earning members of the families.
Anita has formed Madhopur Farmers Producers Company Limited at her newly build place to engage more women in growing organic mushroom. There are around 250 women currently affiliated with her company. She has formed several self-help groups (SHGs) in order to increase the number of women involved in the field. These women have been linked to SHGs under Jeevika, a rural livelihood program run by the Bihar government.
Women have efficaciously switched their status from poverty stricken to prosperous. With more innovation and initiatives like these, we hope that the nation leads towards a state of immense prosperity.
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