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The Face Of Empowerment: “Mushroom Mahila”, Bina Devi

Nothing is out of our reach; all it takes is the will and effort to accomplish it. Growing a kilo of mushrooms under her bed marked Bina Devi’s transition from an ordinary housewife to a well-known businesswoman. She defied all patriarchal expectations, and as a result, she is not only a successful businesswoman but also a spokesperson for empowerment in her community.

Mushroom Mahila

Bina Devi, also Known as the “Mushroom Mahila’’, used her expertise in mushroom farming to encourage women to start their businesses. Born in 1977, Bina lives in a small community called Tilakkari in Mungar, Bihar. She has also served as Dhuri Panchayat Sarpanch.

She gained popularity for promoting the production of mushrooms and rose to the position of sarpanch of the Dhauri Panchayat in Tetiabamber Block for five years. She has taught farmers how to grow mushrooms, practise organic farming, make vermicompost and prepare organic pesticides.

Training Under Krishi Vigyan Kendra 

Like other women, she spends her days inside her house performing household duties. Bina was one of the many women who received training at Munger’s Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Agriculture Science Centre), a government-sponsored agriculture extension. The programme was intended to provide rural women with the skills they need to engage in organic farming, which will not only benefit their families financially but also improve the environment.

Mushroom Cultivation

Bina’s interest in organic farming led to mushroom cultivation. In 2013, she broke all her barriers and started mushroom farming. She began it by cultivating a kilo of mushrooms on a cot at home with the help of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra. In contrast to many other fruits and vegetables, mushrooms have a higher market value and are nutrient-dense.In addition to growing mushrooms at home, she went out and sold them in the market. She practises organic manuring methods. By educating nearly 10,000 rural women, Bina popularised mushroom growing in five blocks and 105 nearby villages in the district.

An advocate of digital literacy

Bina has worked to increase women’s digital literacy and has been recognised by the Tata Trust for instructing 700 women in cellphone usage. She has instructed 2,500 farmers in the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method of crop farming and assisted them in forming self-help groups.

The Village-head

Bina served as the sarpanch or village chief of Dhauri panchayat in Tetiabamber block for five years because of her contributions to her hamlet’s growth. In addition to promoting organic and mushroom farming, she also provided training in vermicomposting, organic pesticides, and dairy farming.

Against the Patriarchal Norms

With her monthly income, she maintains a household of 18 people. She has four children, three sons and a daughter. Her children are studying in different parts of India. Her daughter is an engineering student. She desires for her daughter to be able to take care of herself and make her own choices. She believes that this is the best thing a parent can do for their children, especially daughters. When women are given the right encouragement and support, they can achieve things that might seem impossible.


Devi received the Nari Shakti Puraskar award in March 2020 from Ram Nath Kovind for her work to empower women. Bina Devi was one of the seven women Prime Minister Modi selected as the “Magnificent Seven” on International Women’s Day in 2020.

Bina Devi made attempts to bring mushroom cultivation to the real-world canvas. She put a lot of effort towards expanding mushroom farming’s commercial viability. She has been educating farmers in organic farming, composting, producing organic insecticides, raising cattle, and mushroom cultivation. Her persistent efforts over the past five years have popularised mushroom farming in many villages and improved the financial situation of the villagers. Due to Devi’s initiatives, farmers in 105 villages have chosen to cultivate mushrooms. Additionally, she offers digital training and has assisted over 700 women using mobile devices.

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