Kalpana stays with her husband, while her 11-year-old son stays with his grandparents. Kalpana has a small grocery shop adjacent to the house, where she sits all alone from morning to evening. But last year when she took a loan of Rs 15,000 from Milaap partner BJS, it was not to develop her shop but for growing paddy and other vegetable crops in her own land.
Kalpana says although they have a large agricultural land, they take more land on a lease to grow as many crops as possible. They also grow two varieties of paddy, one that requires intense irrigation and another which is less intensive. The loan amount was completely utilized for irrigation and employing laborers on the field. Due to the large area, Kalpana and her husband employ a lot of laborers who charge somewhere between Rs 150-300 in a day and sometimes, also serve them food. "During the months when they grow vegetables," Kalpana says,"the money mostly goes into buying pesticides in heavy amount."
Although Kalpana has a full-time grocery store, she was proud to show me her cycle, which her husband bought her to travel to and fro to the farmland. Kalpana says, “We try to minimize labor spending, so I try and go to the field as much as possible.” Kalpana’s husband leaves at four in the morning and comes back only after sunset.
"The paddy produce has been good," says Kalpana, who sells their produce directly from the field through middlemen (dalals) and sometimes go to the market with her husband. Kalpana was very proud to show us the vast green expanse of her field, covered with paddy. Kalpana and her family have been able to establish themselves through farming, although Kalpana wants to expand more.