Empowering poor rural women to take charge of their future
The two SHG's have so far generated an income of Rs 84,000
— Photo: Special arrangenent
First time: One of the women's groups at a production centre.
Empowerment of rural women is one of the central issues in developing countries all over the world.
“Income generation for rural women is an important aspect in agriculture production. Unless rural women are not trained to be independant interms of economic income a country cannot progress,” says Dr. M. Shivamurthy, Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK), campus, Bangalore.
A scientist from GKVK, extension unit initiated a training programme for two self help women groups in Tumkur district,Karnataka. The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India funded the project from 2008.
About 40 women in Gramdevathe Mahila Swasahaya Sanga group in Dodderi and Sri Rama Mahila Swasahaya Sanga group in Jayanagara villages in Madhugiri taluk of Tumkur district located in the southern part of the Karnataka underwent training in manufacturing a bio input called Trichoderma.
The self help groups' established two production units, producing about 1,200 kg of Trichoderma a year.
The group has so far generated an income of Rs 84,000 annually by selling the bio input at the rate of Rs 70 a kg.
According to Dr. Shivamurthy, majority of the women trained by the experts held less than two acres, lived in thatched houses, and worked as labourers. The training showcased how far womens' groups can perform successfully in terms of revenue generation by manufacturing their own bio input called Trichoderma, which is an efficient bio-control agent that offers great potential for effective management of diseases in fruits and vegetable crops without spoiling the environment.
“For the first time in Karnataka this type of exercise is being initiated to inculcate the production techniques of a highly sophisticated biotechnology among illiterate schedule caste women,” says Dr. Shivamurthy.
Usually the big companies in agriculture, manufacture bio inputs for crops and sell them at a premium price for farmers. But these tribal women broke the trend as they started manufacturing and selling their own bio input at a comparatively lesser cost, according to him.
“It also enhances the availability of fresh, quality bio-agents at lower cost by reducing the transaction cost for the benefit of farmers as further encourages several farmers to adopt biotechnologies in their field to protect their crops from diseases and reduce the use of chemical pesticides, which are harmful to the crop production environment,” he explains.
The two production centres also function as education centres for interested farmers and women from adjoining villages and are also being visited by bank officials, government agricultural extension workers, and several NGOs' according to Dr.Shivamurthy.
“We also trained the women in marketing their products through progressive farmers, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs'), research farms and seed dealers. A private seed company entered into an agreement with the groups in buying their products,” he says.
Barathiya Agro-Industries Foundation BAIF (BIRDK), an NGO, is also supporting these two SHGs' to market the bio input.
For more details contact Dr. M. Shivamurthy, Principal Investigator & Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension, UAS , GKVK, campus, Bangalore-560 065, email: murudaiah.shivamurthy@ gmail.com and mobile: 09449044975.
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