Rajkumari Devi, affectionately known as ‘Kisan Chachi’ or ‘Farmer Aunty,’ may not be an astrologer, but her self-acquired expertise in agriculture has made her a remarkable authority in assessing soil quality and ensuring successful harvests. With three decades of experience, this 58-year-old mother of three has become a beacon of knowledge, cycling through the dusty lanes of Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, providing invaluable tips on kitchen farming and developing the right agri-based products for business. Her journey from a timid housewife to a revered farming expert is a testament to her determination and passion for transforming lives through agriculture.
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The Transformation into a Farming Expert of Kisan Chachi
Thirty-five years ago, Rajkumari Devi was an ordinary housewife in the remote village of Anandpur, Muzaffarpur. Her husband’s unemployment and one acre of arid land were all she had, but her determination to improve her family’s life led her to embrace farming. Initially, they grew tobacco leaves like many others in the area, but Rajkumari’s hard work and dedication made her realize the potential for more diverse agricultural practices. She decided to transition from tobacco cultivation to growing food crops like vegetables and local fruits. Then she upgraded to food processing. Now, she is making 20+ types of pickles.
The Hurdles of Kisan Chachi
Rajkumari faced numerous challenges, especially as a woman venturing into non-traditional farming practices. The annual floods in the region posed additional difficulties, often wiping away their hard-earned assets. Despite these adversities, she persevered and honed her cropping cycle. Her resilience and success inspired her fellow villagers, especially women, who began emulating her farming techniques.
Rajkumari’s impact on the community has been profound. Inspired by her example, women from various villages formed Self Help Groups (SHGs) to promote integrated farming, home made food products and agri-business. With support from bank loans and government schemes like the Swarna Jayanti Swayam Rozgar Yojna, these SHGs have become self-reliant and economically empowered. Their farms, now efficiently managed, include not only crops but also fish farming, poultry, and cow breeding.
In addition to her farming accomplishments, Rajkumari established a non-profit organization, the Anandpur Jyoti Centre, which supports local farmers by procuring fresh produce from SHG-run farms. The center also employs women to create agriculture-based products such as pickles, jams, and banana wafers, contributing to their financial independence and the growth of the local economy.
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Recognition and Future Endeavors of Kisan Chachi
Rajkumari Devi’s relentless efforts and impact on farming practices in Muzaffarpur did not go unnoticed. She received the prestigious Kisan Shri Award, and even Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar acknowledged her contributions. Despite facing challenges during her foray into politics, she remains a respected figure in her community and continues to be a role model for all.
Rajkumari Devi‘s relentless dedication to Pickle Making and community development earned her Padma Shri Award.
In her pursuit of progress for her district, Rajkumari aspires to combat the devastating annual floods that afflict the area. She dreams of transforming her region into a self-sufficient and thriving agricultural hub.
Rajkumari Devi, affectionately known as ‘Kisaan Chachi,’ has shown that determination and knowledge can overcome any obstacle. Her journey from a humble housewife to a revered farming expert has not only transformed her own life but has also empowered countless women through SHGs. Her impact on agriculture and the local economy in Muzaffarpur serves as an inspiration to all, proving that passion and hard work can create positive change and lasting impact.