A new processing centre that helps to make agriculture viable and sustainable for small farmers in Vadodara
In a new initiative, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) has partnered with MasterCard to open its seventh Rural Urban Development Initiative (RUDI) processing centre at Bodeli near Vadodara, Gujarat.
The initiative expects to ensure fair prices to the farmers for their produce and safeguard their interests from unscrupulous middlemen. Farmers can now sell their agricultural produce to the processing centre and collect money for their goods immediately. The centre will process the agricultural produce for cleaning, packaging, branding and coding. With this initiative, farmers are expected to generate additional income of around 20 per cent more than the market price.
According to Reema Nanavaty, Director for Economic and Rural Development, RUDI is the brand owned by the small farmer women of SEWA. It ensures fair return to the small farmers, generates employment opportunity and ensures food security to the rural women and their households. “It strengthens the local economy, local village economy and builds self-reliant villages. It makes agriculture viable and sustainable for small farmers. We are very happy that through this association we are able to reach out to the poorer tribal women and their households,” she added.
Under this programme, SEWA members will provide necessary training to empower the centre’s workforce with necessary skill. “As more women are trained to run the centre, they will become entrepreneurs, retailing in the neighbouring areas thereby sustaining the business activities of the centre. SEWA members are treated as entrepreneurs and would participate as shareholders in the trust. There will be at least 125 members working for the centre permanently.
T.V. Seshadri, division president, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide, said, “… we believe that by empowering women with financial skills and life skills, they will be able earn a livelihood, and help better the lives of their family and the community they live in,”
The centre aims to generate funds and circulate it within the SEWA network, which will enhance the quality, capacity and efficiency of rural production. The RUDI centre initiative was piloted by SEWA in the Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. The programme aims to create employment opportunities for women in 100 adjoining villages.