After being appointed as minister for agriculture and rural development, Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday indicated his plan to build a synergy between the two ministries, which the previous ministers in the NDA government probably missed. Chouhan announced that work is going on to build a team of 90,000 Krishi Sakhis (women associates in the farm sector) who will guide farmers through  new technologies and modern practices.

“We have trained many sisters so that they can help the farmers and agriculture in different works. About 34,000 such Krishi Sakhis have been trained whereas our target is to build a team of 90,000. Since most of them are drown from self help groups, which is handled by the Rural Development ministry, the agriculture ministry has been closely working with it after signing an Mou,” Chouhan told the media.

Stressing that this training will be imparted continuously, he said the members of SHGs do every work very sincerely. After completing  training, these Krishi Sakhis will be able to earn about Rs 60,000-80,000 extra in a year by helping farmers in various works. “This program has just started; we will continue to take it forward,” he added.

The Krishi Sakhi programme has been started in 12 states - Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya.

Officials said that these Krishi Sakhis are trained in all aspects so that they can work like consultants for farmers for a fee. If farmers get benefit financially from their services, they will not hesitate to pay these Krishi Sakhis, the officials said. Besides, the aim is to make agriculture extension more practical, where local women are engaged to motivate farmers to adopt  best farm practices and use modern technology.

Chouhan further said that the government has already achieved its goal of making one crore women “Lakhpati Didis,” while another two crore Didis (sisters) will be added as per the prime minister’s target of helping three  crore women earn more than ₹1 lakh per annum.