Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Women empowerment through entrepreneurship development

Innovative research in agriculture and food technology can definitely be a boon for rural development. Here is one such classic example of women empowerment through entrepreneurship development.  

Three year ago, around 250 women Self Help Groups, hailing from 10 villages of Malavalli taluk, Mandya set up their own venture dealing with maize, a value added product, by growing quality protein maize (QPM- hybrid) with the assistance of ICAR- NAIP (National Agriculture Innovation Project).

Now, the women SHG groups have registered a Society 'Cauvery Mahila Federation' and have moved forward to set up their enterprise in maize products, by signing an MoU with UAS, Bangalore. Through the society, the women are taking the  responsibility of not only managing the Common Facility Centre (CFC) at Malavalli, but are also planning to train more than 1000 women.

The project was started in 2009, and was initiated by an NGO AWAKE. Since then, about 500 farmers constituting 'Maize growing Farmers Society' are practicing dry land cultivation and so far, they have harvested close to 1500 tons of maize per year.

Women SHG's under the project source their maize for value addition from these farmers and process them into various food products at Common facility Centre established through the project.

The Department of Food science and Nutrition, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) have provided the technology for conversion of maize into nutritious Vermicelli, Noodles, flour, papads and ready snacks. The products has been approved by National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad.

AWAKE Vice-President Dr Rajeshwari said that “the SHG women will be empowered with entrepreneurship and skill training, business concepts, enterprise management in maize value addition. Later, they will be helped to establish CFC's and promotion of maize products through market linkages.'

'Their economic independence and confidence has motivated several other women in the area. This project will surely establish Mallavalli’s MAIZY brand, provides job for locals and enhance the economic status of farmers and SHG women,' she said.

The food are high in protein, fiver and of good quality. They are also recommended as diet for diabetes patients and further trials are on for recommendation to obese patients, she added.

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