Zizira depends on its team of explorers to understand the agricultural sector, to network with farmers through field visits and to identify healthy, little known produce to market. It looks like the Zizira explorers are on ‘operation mode’ 24x7. Not just they, even their family members.
How the team got to meet a lady farmer Bernadethe reads like a series of unconnected events, strung together thanks to the ‘on’ mode of the Zizira team of explorers and their families! Read on to see why.
One day, in a hospital in Shillong, in the month of May, 2015
Bernadethe told my mom about her business - agriculture and floriculture. Since, my mom knew from me about our new venture "Zizira" she told Bernadethe that she should meet me and told her that somehow she should help Zizira with her expertise.
Remember – 'Mom' is not a Zizira employee, but look at her concern and interests for Zizira – just because she too believes in the need to help Northeast farmers. Though mom had her worries, as her husband was not well, she remembered about Zizira and sought Bernadethe's help for the venture!
Within a few months of this event Zizira explorers visited lady farmer Bernadethe in her farm. Here is her story, as heard by the team.
Bernadethe started small. One day she saw an advertisement about a government scheme to support farmers to build poly-houses. She applied and got approved, That was in the year 2002.
With a polyhouse in place, Bernadethe had control over temperature and air conditions. Her love for the soil, her adventurous spirit and love for learning and grit to see her through any challenges saw her become a leading lady agriculturist-entrepreneur of Meghalaya. And a feted one.
We asked Bernadethe her how she did it - her secret of success and she said: "It was because I was always sharing and helping others and never gave up (determination and grit)" "We all got the impression that she is very frugal too – she doesn’t waste anything" said a Zizira team member. With seven children and a village teacher husband, she is the epitome of a normal Khasi housewife but with one exception; she is also a business woman” says a news report by Meghalaya Small Farmers Agri Business Consortium
Once on a field trip to Delhi I got lost in a tram and called Mr. Sohliya who was in Maharashtra to guide me! said Bernadethe with a laugh
Bernadethe showed us around her farm, which was large. There were various flowers in her poly-house; vegetables were growing in the fields; and adjacent to this farm was her paddy field. She grows red rice which is for her family’s consumption, said a Zizira team member.
Every farmer in her community follows organic agriculture. Even pesticides are made organically.
“It was the year 2006. My strawberries were ready to be plucked and sold. And, there was a heavy downpour – both rain and hail – for all of 5 mts. But, it was so intense that the whole crop was wiped out! I lost Rs. 4 lakhs (approx US $6000 to 7000)” said Bernadethe, in a matter-of-fact way. It was like 'challenges are part of life, more so for farmers and she could handle it'.Zizira explorers stay in touch with Bernadethe. In fact she is helping Zizira test a few seeds of new varieties of flowers and herbs. Zizira has a guide and well-wisher in her!
“Bernadethe had GRIT and she has a positive influence on many farmers in RiBhoi district. Our meeting was a memorable one. We learned a lot. And, we had many moments of fun and laughter too, such was her personality. Highly likely that there other farmers like her who have inspiring stories to share, is it not? We look forward to meeting them in our future explorations" said one of the Zizira team members.
Have a farmer success story to share? Contact us?
Visit our store for naturally grown, healthy products from Meghalaya grown by hard-working farmers like Bernadethe.
Comments will be approved before showing up.