They produce bags, mats carpets from banana fibre

In the midst of severe competition and financial constraints, members of the Kalabhairaveshwar self-help group in Hiriyur taluk in Chitradurga district have produced more than 100 types of bags, mats and carpets and exported them.

A few women from Lakkavvanahalli, Seegihalli and Mayasandra joined hands in 1996 to start the Kalabhairaveshwar self-help group. Soon this group earned a reputation for the quality of its products, which also fetched them a reasonable income. In 2002, the members of this self-help group thought of producing a variety of export-quality bags, mats and carpets using fibre from the banana plant.

Shrikant Hebbal, a retired bank official and director of the Rural Development and Self-Employment Training (RUDSET) Institute offered to provide fulltime support to the group. He organised special lectures by a few resourcepersons on systematic utilisation of banana fibre. Mr. Hebbal told The Hindu that inspired by the support and the encouragement, members of the group decided to produce a variety of items.

Initially, the products fetched a low profit of about Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 each, owing to lack of marketing facility. Therefore, they decided to market the products through a private company. At present, their products are being exported at very remunerative prices.

“Members who used to struggle to earn Rs. 30 a day before forming the self-help group are now earning a minimum Rs. 150 a day,” Mr. Hebbal said.

The group has also entered into agreements with Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India Ltd., and a few private firms for supplying their products. “The demand for their products is increasing by the year and members of these groups are making sustained efforts to meet the demand,” he said.

Impressed by their success, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has given financial assistance of Rs 11.29 lakh to them and also organised skill development training. Individual members have also availed themselves of bank loans.

  • The self-help group has signed marketing agreements with a few companies

  • NABARD has extended financial assistance, organised skill development training