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Sounds of explosions at nearby stone quarries occasionally puncture an otherwise calm hilly landscape. The sun is slowly going south and hot, dry winds still make you feel uneasy. But for a group of tribal women, it was the routine time to tend their vegetable garden they have grown collectively.
“The vegetable plants need to be watered every day as the land is very dry. It was actually a barren land that had never been cultivated before,” says Maklu Hembram, 55, a member of the Women’s Collective in Tetulbandhi — a remote tribal hamlet in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.
“These plants need little extra care. They need to be staked. Otherwise, the stems will break and cause the fruits to touch the ground and rot before ripening,” she adds while removing grime off a tiny plant full of tomatoes they have grown using organic methods.
Churamani, another member of the collective, pitches in and says, “We started farming on this land in 2013 and so far we have been able to grow a variety of vegetables.”
“We are very happy because our hard work has paid us well. We have been able to sell our crop in the market after meeting our own family needs,” she informs