H.S. Narasimha Kumar
DAVANGERE: “I was unaware that dry arecanut leaves could be used to make plates and that I could earn a decent income by doing so. I used to discard the leaves or sometimes use it to boil water,” said Nagarathna of Kalpanahalli, who along with 29 other women are being trained to make plates using dry arecanut leaves.
Several women who have been trained by the Agriculture Department here for the past 15 days said they were taught various aspects of entrepreneurship and agriculture. They were confident that they could now earn their livelihood.
With the considerable expansion in the cultivation of arecanut in the district, the Agriculture Department has decided to train women farmers to make plates, a task that has been entrusted to Eco-vision, a company situated in Sirsi. The company has also offered to provide plate-making machines and buy plates from the women at Rs. 1.25 apiece. Representatives of the company said a machine costs Rs. 5,000 and promised that the company would buy it back for the same amount if they ran short of raw material or stopped making plates.
The training camp concluded on Saturday with almost all women placing orders for the machine.
Joint Director of Agriculture Shivamurthappa and an official from the department, Prema Kambli, said that the department was committed to encouraging women in agriculture-oriented entrepreneurship. Mr. Shivamurthappa said a team of women farmers had been sent to Sirsi and other places to see how the plates were made.