In order to give her daughters a good future, P Bindu innovated new farming methods on their family land, where they used to previously cultivate sugarcane.

Having a five-acre land in Bomminayakanpatti village in Theni district, Tamil Nadu, the family was incurring heavy losses as sugarcane is a labour and cost-intensive crop.

Bindu started growing different crops to yield better income. She started with corn and brinjal on their farm.

She also joined a Self-Help Group (SHG), which gave her insights into how other women were supporting their families.

She attended programmes conducted by the state agriculture department. They distributed lentil and millet seeds, and she started growing sorghum (jowar or cholam), pearl millet (bajra or kambu), and urad dal.

At a Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) workshop, she learnt about organic farming and made her own pesticide at home.

“I made a pesticide composition at home by mixing ginger, garlic, and pepper. You just need to add 100 ml of this mixture to 15 litres of water. Not only does it keep insects away, but I’ve never seen shinier brinjals!” says Bindu.

In 2020, she started growing bananas, and other crops through intercropping, such as toor dal, tomatoes, ladies finger, which provided a supplementary income.

She also forayed into value-added products like vathals (sun-dried vegetables) to use the extra vegetables through her venture, Pasumai.

Today, she sells idli podi (powder), lemon podi, coriander powder and more and employs 12 women, selling more than 100 packets per month.

She has also won awards for her innovative farming techniques.

“I just started this out of an interest in farming; that’s all I knew in life and I’m glad that it helped my original goal of giving my daughters a good education. I want to train more people now and bring them forward as well,” says Bindu.