Manisha Borkhari, Kushalgarh, Rajasthan | Land: 3 bigha | Grows: Saplings of fruits like Mango, Lemon, jackfruit, Java Plum, Guava, Papaya, vegetables like Brinjal, Tomato, Chillies | Livestock & others: 2 cows, 2 buffaloes, and 2 bulls
There was a time when Manisha and her husband Himmat sing Rathod could not afford to buy good quality seeds and fertiliser from the market because of their poor economic condition. The crops suffered. They struggled every year. A facilitator from Vaagdhara informed them about the self-help group formed by the organisation where they had monthly meetings and discussions on the relationship between seed, water, land, forest and animals. He also told them about training which was conducted on how to prepare organic fertilisers, and procure and treat seeds to start a nursery. Inspired by the opportunities Manisha joined the farmers’ self-help group. She started participating in regular meetings and applied her newly acquired knowledge to her land. Her husband showed enthusiasm and was happy to be trained by her. They decided to use the compost they prepared in their land. Manisha joined Vaagdhara's 3-day residential training on starting a nursery and learnt with keen interest. On return, she started a nursery in 1 bigha of land. In the beginning, half the saplings were ruined, and she had to incur loss. But she knew that her efforts would not go waste. Next year, with sustained effort, the saplings emerged. She sold these to the Kushalgarh market in turn and made a remarkable profit of INR 20,000. She named her nursery Dasa Mata and with the help of the organisation, distributed pamphlets in her locality. With increasing demands, she started growing several vegetables and fruit saplings. As the word spread, people from entire Kushalgarh started coming to her door and she had no need to go to the market. Her fare to the market and time was saved. These days, Manisha sells saplings worth INR80,000 every year. She has started livestock rearing. She has 2 cows, 2 buffaloes, and 2 bulls. The fertiliser cost has been reduced as these livestock provide the inputs to her nursey. She earns some extra money by selling the milk. Their poverty-stricken days are a thing of the past. She is an inspiration to the people in her locality, who come to her to learn her trade.