Anusree, a unit of Kudumbasree, launched in the high ranges six years ago on a small scale, has now scripted a success story, deftly utilising the entrepreneurial acumen of its members.
The 12-member women team now has its own unit for making ‘Amrutham nutrimix,' a food mix supplied to the anganwadies in nine grama panchayats of Idukki. The unit gets a profit of Rs.20,000 a month.
It also produces a nutritional food mix for teenaged women to be supplied under the Sabla scheme of the State government, apart from Amrutham Plus — packets of rice powder and ‘puttu' powder for the open market.
Anusree president Asha Jayakumar said that they were planning to set up an exclusive unit to produce Amrutham Plus since there was good demand for the product. They had purchased 1.13 acres to set up the unit.
Anusree started producing the Amrutham brand of foods four years ago. It was not a success in the open market. Later, as per the suggestion of the Kudumbasree district unit, they followed the government specifications and became the sole agency supplying nutrimix for anganwadies in Nedumkandam, Rajakkad, Rajakumari, Senapathy, Chinnakkanal, Marayoor, Ayyappancoil and Kanchiyar grama panchayat.
From Rs.10 to Rs.250
Anusree was formed combining three Kudumbasree units — Anusree, Jeeva and Oruma. “There were 15 members initially. Three left as the income in the initial period was a meagre Rs.10 a day,” she said. Now, the income has gone up to Rs.250 a day.
Production, packaging and marketing are done by the 12-member team. The unit first took out a loan of Rs.5.50 lakh to purchase machines. Once it was repaid, they got a Rs.6-lakh loan to buy 14 cents of land with a building. After repaying the amount, the unit borrowed Rs.15 lakh last March to purchase the 1.13 acres.
According to Shylaja Balachandran, the Community Development Society chairperson, financial security for the unit members was the major plus of the venture. All the members were either unemployed and were from poor families. Though the interest rate of the loan amount is nine per cent, five percent of it is provided as subsidy, she added.