“Have you met Lingu Bai?” was the question we were asked from the time we entered Adilabad district in Telangana. Lingu Bai, it seems, is a bit of a legend in her village, and with good reason. In 2007, she became a Fairtrade-certified farmer with Chetna Organic. Since then, she has not only done well with her cotton farm, but also become an entrepreneur by starting a poultry business. She took a loan from the Fairtrade Premium committee and has paid off most of it, owing to the low-interest rate and the success of her business.
“I have one son and one daughter,” said Lingu Bai, whose entire family is into farming. “We have always been organic farmers, for generations. We continue to practice it because we see a profit in it.”
When Lingu Bai is not farming, she takes care of her family. She proudly showed off her grandson, a wee baby, Pawan Kalia to us. As she held the little boy in her arms, we almost expected to hear “Circle of Life” from Lion King to play in the background. Yet, Lingu Bai stands tall by herself – it’s clear she is the head of her family – a proud matriarch.
Over cups of steaming hot tea made from a local root, Lingu Bai told us how they prefer to eat jowar in the village and jowar roti is a staple here. “Do you know how to make rotis,” she asked us. When one of our group members said no, she laughed and answered, “You wouldn’t get married then, if you lived here.”
With her ready wit, commitment to her farm and savvy business sense, it’s not hard to see why Lingu Bai is an inspiration.
From the series Fairtrade Farmers of India being featured on Fairtrade India site.