Manchala Gangamma, a hardworking farmer from the village of Pindrangivalasa in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, enrolled herself into the RESET program, a regenerative farming initiative from Women on Wings’ partner Grameena Vikas Kendram Society for Rural Development. Already in one crop year, Manchala witnessed an improvement in both her crops and her income.
Manchala Gangamma cultivated organic cotton in 1.5 acre of land in the crop year 2019-2020 and has shattered all the preconceived notions her community members held with respect to the cultivation of organic cotton. While her investment was below 5,000 rupees (55 euros) per acre, her neighbors in the village growing conventional cotton invested upwards of 10,000 rupees (110 euros). And in some cases, even as much as 18,000 rupees (200 euros) per acre.
Higher income and better yields
With a harvest of 922 kilograms of raw cotton per acre, Manchala competed not only with conventional cotton farmers in her village that are rain fed, but also with farmers with access to irrigation. She thinks that choosing to take up regenerative farming has increased the moisture retention capacity of her soil and the resilience of the farm in general. On an average, Manchala’s income has increased by 40% compared with her conventional counterparts in the village. This extra income is saved in Manchala’s Self-Help Group (SHG) and she wants these extra savings to be used for emergencies only. She says she has not experienced this kind of growth previously and is looking forward to the next season.
Model farmer inspires others
This has turned Manchala into a model farmer for the RESET program in her village of Pindrangivalsa. The other farmers started looking up to her and reconsidered their opinions about organic farming. And that was the beginning of a huge shift; her impact story has led to the conversion of the entire village into organic farming for the current crop year. Today, there is not a single cotton farmer in the village who still is growing conventional cotton using genetically modified BT seeds and chemical inputs.
Impact through innovation
Regenerate Environment Society and Economy thru Textiles (RESET) is a futuristic innovation by Women on Wings’ business partner Grameena Vikas Kendram Society for Rural Development (GVK Society). The RESET program focuses on tribal women farmers of Vizianagaram district and small cotton farmers in Kadapa district. The village of Pindrangivalsa in part of the Vizianagaram district. Grameena Vikas Kendram aims to scale RESET and reach out to 15,000 farmers in a few years to come and turn cotton cultivation into an effective solution to climate crisis by enhancing carbon sequestration.
Women on Wings and GVK Society
RESET is one of several innovative projects designed and implemented by GVK Society. Since 2016, Women on Wings and GVK Society are partnering on their joint mission of increasing livelihoods for families in rural India. The expert teams of Women on Wings and GVK Society are regularly working on multiple organizational building processes to enable the social enterprise to attain its ambitious goals.