In a region of poor yields, a gritty woman farmer succeeds even in years of crop failure. But high costs are depleting Vidarbha’s success stories

I am the farmer, he did no farming. He only moons over his cattle, he loves those cows (even if they yield just a litre of milk each). Men hang around the village, women are in the fields.”

Leelabai is speaking of one of Yavatmal’s most famous farmers, Ashanna Totawar. He is something of a legend, a man credited with record yields in cotton and soybean even in years of major crop failure in Yavatmal. Ashanna is a gentle, experienced man who has closely observed farming in the Vidarbha region across 50 years. He is also Leelabai’s husband. The couple live in Pimpri village adjoining Panderkauda town, a major cotton market in Yavatmal district, Maharashtra.

Leelabai holds her husband in great respect and affection. She has little formal education, but is highly-skilled and trained by her own experience. –Read more


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