Leading the way to embracing newer crops and newer techniques for farming in their region, are three strong women from a small tribal village under one of Hindustan Zinc’s flagship program – SAMADHAN. These women farmers have for the first time grown high-value strawberries in their farms and are inspiring others to explore beyond traditional farming and be self-reliant. Hindustan Zinc has always been a frontrunner in adopting innovative techniques in their operations as well as taking it to the communities around them.
Narmada Meena, Chanda Meena and Sonia Meena – the trio from the tribal village of Zawar in Rajasthan were beyond thrilled when they came to know of strawberries grown on their tribal rural farm, reach the residence of the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Rajasthan Mr Ashok Gehlot. These women farmers are associated with Hindustan Zinc’s SAMADHAN project under which they cultivated a premium variety of strawberry named “winter down” for the first time in the Zawar region of Udaipur district. Besides their traditional farming methods, the women adopted newer techniques of farming to grow exotic and high-value produce such as strawberries.
The strawberries were presented to Mr Ashok Gehlot by Chairman of Vedanta Resources Mr Anil Agarwal, on his recent meeting with the Chief Minister in Jaipur. During this meeting, Honourable Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Shri Ashok Gehlot appreciated Hindustan Zinc’s Samadhan initiative as an exemplary programme and said that the farmers of the state should increase their livelihood with the cultivation of cash crops along with the use of latest technology in traditional farming.
Vedanta Resources Chairman, Mr Anil Agarwal on presenting the strawberries said, “I am thrilled & amazed to see how technology & innovation intervention by us can bring smiles on the faces of our farmers. Giving back has always been the core philosophy of Vedanta and I believe that as one grows in life, his responsibility towards the community also grows. I feel proud to see these rural & tribal women exploring high value crops like strawberry and taking charge of enhancing their life.”
Hindustan Zinc CEO, Mr Arun Misra added that “In addition to modern technology and traditional agriculture, the farmers associated with our Samadhan project have started cultivation of high-tech vegetable and fruit farming which has increased production of these crops and their income. The cultivation of crops such as broccoli, strawberries and lettuce under the pilot project has been successful and proved beneficial to the farmers.”
On hearing the news, the three ladies were beyond thrilled. Sonia Meena, who has her farm in the village of Singhatwada, said “It would have been difficult to visualize my farm a year ago, the way it is now. We planted strawberries for the first time with the help of SAMADHAN program run by Hindustan Zinc, who introduced us to cash crops, strawberry farming and the scientific process of high-density plantation. Thanks to this, not only has there been an increase in my income and crop productivity, I have also been able to try something new. I plan on scaling up next year to reap more benefits.”
“A year ago, I would not even have dreamt of the possibility of growing strawberries on my farm, let alone the thought of them reaching the Chief Minister’s residence. SAMADHAN project has helped me not only dream of it, but also turn it into a reality. Through this program, I have learned and developed the technical expertise to grow a fruit like strawberry, which has enhanced my livelihood and given me good value for my production. My entire family is excited to take up this production next year as well,” said Narmada Meena from Tidi.
“I had never seen strawberries before in my life, but today I can proudly say that I have not only gained the technical expertise to grow strawberries but can also attribute these to be an important contribution to my family’s income. This has all been possible due to Hindustan Zinc’s intervention through the SAMADHAAN project, and I plan to take it a step further by increasing my production next year,” said Chanda Meena from Zawar.