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Aloe Vera Farmer and Entrepreneur from Garo Hills who used Lakhs of his Business Profits to build Roads and Toilets in his Village .

Dr. Lakshmi Unnithan
Layland Marak from Garo Hills, Meghalaya
Layland Marak

The Garo Hills forms the Western part of the State of Meghalaya and the hill are densely forested and one of the richest spots in bio­diversity. The Garos have to undergo tremendous hardships to bring about sustainable livelihoods within their community. It is very interesting and awe-inspiring at the same time to learn about a farmer from Garo who became an entrepreneur and even taken giant strides in bringing about enormous change within his village.

Aloe Vera Cultivation
Aloe Vera Cultivation

The farmer is Layland Marak from Ganolgre village, the Rongram C&RD Block in West Garo Hills where he is engaged in a unique business of processing and selling Aloevera products through a Self Help Group (SHG) named Chizingjang. He brought about a radical transformation and immense development within his village. His tireless efforts in bringing his SHG to new heights is praiseworthy. He has helped many to create immense opportunities to support his fellow community members so they too can achieve their dreams.

Marak had a very troublesome childhood as he lost his parents at a young age. From childhood, Mark excelled in scholastic activities and showed a keen interest in pursuing higher education, but due to some health issues he couldn’t continue his studies. But still, his perseverance and dedication helped him secure the position of an assistant teacher at Jengjal Primary School, West Garo Hills in 1995. In 2006, he attended the two-day training on Aloe Vera cultivation and processing by the North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas (NERCOMP) funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), organized a two-day training on Aloevera cultivation and processing

Aloe Vera Leaf Gel
Aloe Vera Leaf Gel

Layland’s farming activities revolve around the crop named Aloe Vera. He set up a business to process and sell a variety of aloe vera products, providing the villagers with an alternate source of employment with the help of a Self-Help Group called Chizingjan. He also trained several farmers and finally, they venture into establishing a new Aloevera processing factory. The SHG makes different products including soaps, juices, and gels. Initially, it earned revenue of ₹7,00,000. But, it slowly increased and in 2019, the profit of the SHG is ₹20,00,000. Layland also became the first entrepreneurs of a social enterprise from Garo Hills and also he helped his entire community under the Rongram Community and Rural Development Block to earn a better livelihood, but also builds roads & toilets for his Village through the profits earned from his venture.

According to Meghalaya  Basin Development Authority, Layland also has ventured into livestock and fishery. Unfortunately, this business did not do so well and the fishes have largely remained unsold. But his livestock venture, on the other hand, is doing well. Layland currently owns four Jersey cows that produce 7 to 8 liters of milk per day. He sells the milk to dairy farms who in turn sell it at Tura. He offers a percentage of the proceeds to his family.

At present, COVID-19 has imposed several issues on the availability of raw materials for the processing of products. Layland in an exclusive talk to Asianet News expresses his concerns about getting back to work post COVID with much more strength than ever.

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