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Tribal Women Farmers from Odisha Earn 10 lakhs from 18 acres of land, in less than Two months from Coriander Leaf Cultivation

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan

Garadamunda is a small village under Gadiaguda GP in Dasmantpur Block, Odisha. 80% of the inhabitants in the village are tribals, having 1-2 acres of land. These tribal Women Farmers used to grow paddy during Kharif Seasonand some Vegetables like Tomato, Onion, Garlic and Potato in Rabi season. They never considerd Agriculture as their main occupation and so they used to sell the above vegetables to meet some of their cash requirements, but a major part of the cash came from wage labour and they never took to Agriculture Seriously.

A group wanted to promote farm based livelihood interventions in this tribal village in Garamunda and help them be more profitable in Agriculture and hence several meetings were organized which brought together women farmers of the village. Following several sensitisation meetings, 116 women members from Malimundaguda and Garadamunda village came together and formed the Maa Tara Tarini Producer Group. In the first year, the group could mobilize 5 women farmers to take up vegetable cultivation. Soon after another 20 farmers from the village joined the group and a planned for 18 acres of vegetable cultivation in Rabi season. The members did some market research and identified coriander for cultivation. Given the short gestation period and the low input cost coriander was identified  a winner crop for cultivation.

Farmers were convinced to take up coriander leaf cultivation – given the low input cost (8 to 10 thousand cost per acre) and short gestation period (in 45 days only) of the crop. Initially, there was mixed response from the farmers- and some were apprehensive and some perplexed and some excited. A plan was made for syncroshised production. Farmers were trained on Land preparation and sowing activities to be completed at one go they were also trained on cultivation practices.

Meanwhile, the marketing committee of Maa Tara Taratarini Producer Group took the responsibility of marketing the produce. They invited traders, showed them around the field, provided samples and negotiated price with multiple traders. With the partner NGO’s support and Women members’ linkage with the traders marketing was not that difficult and helped them take their agriculture activity to the next level.

Today, they sell the cultivated coriander in Vizianagarm and Visakhapatnam of Andhra Pradesh. A few months back, they could hardly imagine that such a huge volume could be sold. But the group was so proficient in marketing techniques that they could make their deal profitable.

However, the results were unexpected and helped the farmers restore their faith on farming especially on high value crops. A single endeavour like coriander cultivation gave them decisive results– nearly 10 lakhs from 18 acres of land, that too in less than two months. The per acre income was Rs 50000-60000, at the rate of Rs 50/60 per kg.

Coriander leaf cultivation is a profitable business for small and marginal farmer, as the production cost is very low and duration of the crop is small. And most importantly, market demand for green coriander leaf is perennially high. This confidence has motivated the members to upscale the coriander cultivation further and follow the same approach in cultivation of tomato, beans and watermelon cultivation in upcoming season. Maa Tara Tarini group of Odisha is a clear example of how women SHGs can do wonders and help in income augmentation and empowerment of not only the members but also of other women in their community.   

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