Inspiring Stories-in-brief

Boosting women’s earnings, a story from Thakurmunda

Life for women in Khuntakata village of Thakurmunda block in Mayurbhanj was challenging, as agricultural employment was seasonal. According to Jayanti Mohanta, they However, with the support of APC project and partner CYSD, the women have been empowered to form a Producer Group (PG), to increase their income. Maa Budhipat Producer group formed with membership of 70 women farmers to undertake Agriculture production cluster activities in village

‘Disguised’ unemployment’

As one enters Khuntakata village, in Thakurmunda block , Mayurbhanj district, it is easy to mistake the lush greenery, fertile paddy fields and rich herds of mulching cattle for signs of the prosperity of the 150-plus Kolho tribe families residing there.But scratch the surface and you will spot signs of poverty; the lack of work out-of-season, the poor infrastructure and other evidence of deprivation

Villager Jayanti Mohanta [President of PG], aged 40, describes the reality of life in the village for herself and her co-villagers, such as Nandi Ho, Dhabali Ho, Palamani Ho, Buduni Ho, Gouri Ho, before CYSD signposted extra opportunities for generating income.

She says, ‘We had no work during summer and winter, only in rainy season when we would go to the fields for paddy plantation and then to chop it three-to-four months later. It made us entirely dependent on monsoon-based farm income, which was not sufficient to meet our needs and nourish our children.’ 

This tale of ‘disguised’ unemployment was common to most of the women of the village before they decided to look for a solution. Fortunately, CYSD was on hand to inform them about the benefits of forming PGs, in APC project for individual/collective vegetables farming and marketing 

Collaborating to do cultivation work

Jayanti says: ‘people from CYSD came to meet us and enquired about our hardship. With the help of CYSD, 26 of the women farmer initiated vegetable cultivation in 16 acres of land, where they started brinjal in 11 acres and chili in 5 acres collectively. It also gives farmer the opportunity to collective marketing and boosts their incomes. Rs. 67500/- was invested for cultivation of brinjal and chili in khariff and now they have earned Rs. 236505/- and more importantly they sold to the trader directly

Empowered and informed

The confidence gained by the Kolho people of Khuntakata helped them significantly in future endeavors like gaining information about the schemes passed by their gram sabha (area meeting). CYSD, in association with block administration, introduced the women to the village planning in addition to MGNREGA.

Duli Ho, head of Khuntakata, concludes: ‘Now we often discuss how to get new work and also talk about the new schemes being brought to the village. We are more informed and that has opened up additional sources of income, apart from farming.’