Project is funded by NABARD and SGSY

Two women’s self-help groups (SHGs) in Dakshina Kannada district will start manufacturing cloth and jute bags from the first week of March, K.N. Vijay Prakash, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, told The Hindu.

Pragathi SHG in Ganjimath, Mangalore, and Sneha SHG from Ujire, Belthangady taluk, with 10 and 13 members respectively, would invest Rs. 4.3 lakh and Rs. 4.9 lakh in the project to manufacture cloth and jute bags.

The funds for the project were sourced from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and Swarnajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY). Each SHG had received a grant of Rs. 2.25 lakh from NABARD and the balance was granted by SGSY, he said.

The groups would use the funds to buy high-speed machines with motors, cutting machines, scissors, and screen-printing machines to make the bags. Initially, they planned to use only jute. But later, instead of relying on a single material, they included cloth as well, he said.

Empowerment

Mr. Prakash said: “The aim of the project is empowerment of women.” The SHG members were a mixed group, belonging to different castes and include those from BPL families. The SHGs would work on the premises that would be provided by their gram panchayats. The aim was to have each member make 200 bags a day; and earnings for members would depend on the profit of the group. While members had to look for marketing opportunities themselves, the National Jute Board would be consulted on marketing and product design, he said.

Prasad Rao, Assistant General Manager (AGM), NABARD, said: “The main aim is to provide livelihood opportunities.” The project had to be seen in the context of the ban on plastic bags imposed in Dakshina Kannada. Traditionally, SHGs were unable to sustain sales of products as demand waned and they were unable to remain competitive. Here, the ban on plastic bags would ensure there was an assured demand.

He said NABARD’s funds for non-farm sector activities were supporting the project. The SHGs would find it difficult in the first month to manufacture 200 bags per member per day. But once the members get familiar with the work and an assembly line got formed, it should not be a problem to manufacture that many bags, he said.

How much each SHG member would be able to earn would be clear after a meeting on Monday which would discuss cost and sale price of the bags, he said.

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