“I was told that a lady cannot farm, so I will never succeed. I wanted to prove them wrong,” says Sangita Pingale, a farmer from Matori village in Nashik.

Having lost her second child, her husband and her father-in-law in a span of a few years, Sangita was devastated.

“The people who always supported me in life had gone. I was alone and lost the will to live,” the 39-year-old recalls.

This family tragedy also meant that Sangita was now the sole custodian of the 13-acre farm left behind by her father-in-law.

Her relatives claimed it is not a woman’s field and that it is easier said than done.

But Sangita took money on loan in exchange for her jewellery, and also borrowed money from cousins to raise capital for farming.

“I realised that while farming involves women, there are certain aspects handled solely by men,” she says, adding that she decided to take this up as a challenge.

“So I fulfiled the roles of both a man and a woman. I learned how to ride a two-wheeler and drive a tractor,” she says.

Slowly but steadily, Sangita’s farm took shape. Today, it produces a yield of 800-1,000 tonnes of grapes per year, earning her Rs 25-30 lakh.

She also has plans to export her grapes to increase her income.

“I am glad I could overcome all odds to achieve this success. I feel it could come only with hard work, determination and dedicated hours of effort,” she adds.