Juggling between handling her own farm and working as a laborer on another’s farm, Sushila has struggled a lot to take care of her family. Sushila’s husband lost his life due to a heart attack on the farm while they were digging up the well on their farm. Since then, the entire responsibility of the family’s livelihood had come on Sushila’s shoulders. Sushila has faced many challenges throughout her journey with great strength and determination. Her struggles have made her stronger and even more determined to progress as a farmer and do agriculture on a larger scale. Sushila believes challenges are a part of a farmer's life and the only way to get ahead is to have confidence in your abilities and keep working hard.
Sushila married Arun Surwade in 1987. The Surwade family owned 3 acres of land which was not very productive. Thus, they had to work as laborers on nearby farms as well to earn a livelihood. During this time Sushila and Arun were blessed with 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl. Sushila and her husband always dreamed of turning their infertile land into a flourishing farm. But the shortage of water and other problems kept cropping up. They decided to dig up a well on the farm to solve this issue. While they were in the middle of the well excavation Arun felt a sharp pain in his chest and collapsed on the site. Arun succumbed to a severe heart attack and Sushila was left all alone with their children and elderlies to look after. Sushila had no time to grieve her loss as debt of 7 lakh rupees, household expenses, and her children’s education were all piling up. Sushile alone completed the well excavation. Once the farm had a stable source of water, she set up a grape farm and learned all the required farming techniques needed. From the laborious work to spraying pesticides, Sushila did all the work by herself.
Gradually the fruit of her efforts began to show. Sushila turned her once infertile land into a blossoming vineyard. With time she also paid off all the debts from the profits and gave her family a stable livelihood. Her in-laws were her biggest source of strength and support in these testing times.
Later her elder son, Mahendra, also started helping her on the farm. They have been exporting grapes since 2010. They faced a lot of problems during this time. In 2012, the Phyan cyclone destroyed their crop. Later their area was affected by a drought, which made conditions worse for their already infertile land. They decided to set up a borewell pipeline to solve the water scarcity problem.
Sushila and her family have gone through numerous struggles in their journey but together they have worked out a way through all the problems. Sushila has also installed solar dryers as a side business to make raisins and processed onions.
Farming is full of challenges, but it can also make dreams come true if you work hard. Sushila expresses immense gratitude towards her farm for giving her family everything that they have today.