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Sisters Took Up Farming in Their 40s; Earn Rs 11 Lakh Rising Gooseberries

An opportunity go to to Manisha Gosain’s land in Dehradun in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic gave her and her sister, Namita Rawat Negi, the concept to transform it into the Doon Gooseberry Farm. They develop greens like tomatoes, brinjals, pumpkins, spinach, and extra, and promote value-added merchandise created from them.

In 2021, when Namita Rawat Negi and Manisha Gosain, two sisters from Dehradun, Uttarakhand, determined to pursue farming, their determination raised extra eyebrows than smiles

Nevertheless, pushed by their sturdy self-belief and a want to guard agricultural land, they ventured into what’s extensively considered one of many hardest occupations — farming. 

This journey calls for immense perseverance and persistence, however their dedication has remained unwavering.

Of their 40s, many believed that Namita and Manisha would solely dabble in farming for a number of months earlier than returning to their earlier lives and jobs; presumably promoting the land. Nevertheless, they defied expectations and persevered in constructing their agricultural enterprise. 

Right now, they proudly function Doon Gooseberry Farm, a comfortable setup born from their dedication and fervour, supported steadfastly by their husbands. 

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we first visited my sister’s land in Dehradun. The scene was not promising. We had been confronted with 10 bighas of land coated in unruly grass and creepers,” shares Namita. 

“Nevertheless, what instantly caught our consideration had been the gooseberry bushes (amla) laden with fruit, a lot of which had been going to waste. We immediately felt the necessity to take motion, not solely to guard our land but additionally to nurture it and reap the rewards of its bounty,” she provides.

The 2 sisters entered the world of farming with no prior expertise or publicity. Nevertheless, via trial and error, they’ve realized to plant and nurture their crops successfully. Right here’s their story.

The two sisters at the farm.
The 2 sisters on the farm.

A mixed effort

The 2 sisters are ably helped by their husbands, Vineet Singh Negi and retired military Colonel Vikas Gosain.

“Harvesting the bushes has developed right into a household affair,” Namita shares. “We even invite our mates to hitch us because it’s an important alternative to spend the day collectively and benefit from the fruits of our labour.” 

From chutneys and pickles to jams crafted from the recent produce comparable to amla, mango, turmeric, garlic and lemon, Doon Gooseberry Farm has expanded its choices to incorporate a various array of merchandise, making a internet revenue of Rs 5 lakh. Their complete revenue was Rs 11 lakh for the final monetary yr.

Along with this, the farm additionally homes poultry and cultivates numerous greens comparable to tomatoes, brinjals, pumpkins, spinach, mustard, and woman’s fingers. Whereas they promote merchandise created from amla, mango, turmeric, lemon, and tomatoes, the opposite greens fulfill their family wants, making certain a self-sufficient and homely atmosphere.

Namita at the poultry section of the farm.
Namita on the poultry part of the farm.
The raw mangoes cultivated at their farm.
The uncooked mangoes cultivated at their farm.

“At Doon Gooseberry Farm, our mission is easy and but profound: to supply the world with delectable, wholesome meals choices which are free from dangerous preservatives. Our journey started with the will to embrace a way of life wealthy in vitality, the place we may savour all these flavours nurtured in our very personal yard,” says Manisha.

She provides, “Our produce prospers below the solar, untouched by chemical sprays or pesticides. It’s right here that the roots of Doon Gooseberry Farm run deep, the place our dedication to purity and high quality is agency.” 

They use shells of natural eggs, vegetable peels, and cow manure because the prime supply of nourishment for his or her cultivation. 

The amla (gooseberry) trees lining the farm.
The amla (gooseberry) bushes lining the farm.

Nevertheless, the journey has been removed from clean. “Water availability is a vital challenge,” Namita explains. 

“Being in a hilly space with a non-perennial river close by, water shortage is a big problem. This can be a main cause why many individuals round us are abandoning their agricultural lands.” 

Regardless of the federal government’s efforts to create canals for water provide, Namita notes that there’s nonetheless a extreme scarcity, notably in the course of the summer season months. “We’re presently exploring rainwater harvesting as a possible resolution to create a dependable supply of water,” Namita shares. 

“Nevertheless, we sincerely hope that the water scenario improves. Whereas the river has some water at sure factors, different areas stay fully dry. We imagine that if the federal government addresses this challenge earnestly, it won’t solely profit us but additionally many others who want to pursue farming with higher ease and happiness.”

At the moment, Doon Gooseberry Farm collaborates with native ladies and small processing items to fabricate its merchandise. Nevertheless, the farm aspires to determine its personal processing unit staffed totally by ladies sooner or later. 

“We initiated our enterprise with the help of an agricultural mortgage and assist from household,” Namita explains. “This enabled us to make the land cultivable and fulfill our fundamental necessities. Now, our aim is to increase additional, with a deal with offering employment alternatives to locals, notably ladies.”

This text has been written by Shweta Bhanot Mehrotra. Image credit: Manisha and Namita.

Edited by Padmashree Pande.

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