Jalandhar, July 29 : 60-year-old Sangeeta Deol was stricken by polio when she was a child, but her determination and strong will did not let it affect her desire to succeed. Today her success in diversified farming is an example for others to follow.
She is a first generation farmer who has set-up, and run a huge enterprise that deals in bee-keeping, dairy farming and even deals with some scientific agricultural processes.
"Women farmers should make efforts to start their own venture. Initially, they might find some opposition, but once they start generating profits their living standard would improve that will also remove all the obstacles. I think women farmers should fight for their rights. They should have the confidence that they can do everything," she said.
Her introduction of 'honey extraction machine' has helped sort out problems of small beekeepers in the area. She helps in extraction of honey and further supplies it to manufacturers of natural honey and herbal products.
Sangeeta also runs a farm-field school to teach farmers about vermin-compost, mushroom farming, bee keeping and dairy farming.
Though, Sangeeta has been using diversified farming methods for better yields, she is looking at new techniques and policies for further growth.
"I have established a market for myself. The Government speaks of diversification in farming, though there are no markets for diversified farming. To encourage women farmers, government should train them in food processing and provide them small machinery. Women farmers should be kept free from the burden of interest for the first five to six years on their loan amount."
Sangeeta is a recipient of the Farmer of the Year' Award in 1999. The Punjab Kisan Club also honored her for contribution in the promotion of alternative farming.
Encouraging women's participation in farming has been taken up by several non-governmental organizations, with promotional schemes being introduced in several cities of the state.