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Thrust on marketing mechanism Taking stock of kudumbasree

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Mohamed Nazeer

Major cashew project under Samagra Scheme being launched in Kasaragod district

KASARAGOD: It was started as a festival season outlet at Bedadka panchayat for selling products of Kudumbasree micro-enterprises in the district. It has now been made a permanent marketing outlet, the first such Kudumbasree facility in the district.

Setting up a permanent mechanism for marketing Kudumbasree products is one of the major Kudumbasree initiatives in the district. A 35-member committee with the district panchayat president as president and Kudumbasree district coordinator as secretary has been formed to establish an organisational marketing set-up in one month. Sales outlets for Kudumbasree products will be set up in every possible panchayats this year itself and the remaining panchayats will have similar facilities next year.

Increase in NHGs

The number of Kudumbasree neighbourhood groups (NHGs) is increasing by an average of 10 every month and this steady increase is expected to continue as the 10th year action plan has introduced changes in the three-tier organisational framework of the Kudumbasree movement that ensure more interactions among local bodies, area development societies (ADS), community development societies (CDSs) and the district Kudumbasree mission.

The district has 6,113 NHGs covering 1,28,751 families which are organised under 41 CDSs, including 39 rural ones, and 712 ADSs. The NHGs also include 110 Scheduled Caste NHGs. Thrift savings of the NHG members have totalled Rs.40.37 crore and the loans disbursed among them have stood at Rs.156.90 crore. Though 4,803 NHGs in the district have been graded for bank linkage, 3,470 NHGs have been linked. A sum of Rs.18.88 crore has been disbursed as loans under the linkage banking for the Kudumbasree units.

“A major thrust of the Kudumbasree activities in the district is lease-land farming, which has increased land under cultivation,” says district coordinator M.K. Rajashekharan. The land under cultivation under lease-land farming has increased by 1,657 acres this year, he says adding the area included 360 acres under vegetable, 206.52 acres under paddy and 341.06 acres under plantain. Among 1,281 micro-enterprises, there are a large number of apiculture units, especially at Bedadka, Kinanoor-Karinthalam, West Elery and Kuttikkol panchayats. There are also groups engaged in goat/cow rearing, plantain cultivation, poultry, paddy cultivation, vegetable growing, nursery, Nutrimix production, garment making, among other things.

Brand name

“Efforts are now on to market all Kudumbasree products in the district under the brand name Payaswini,” says Dr. Rajashekharan.

Uniform pricing of each category of products and attractive packing will also be introduced, he says.

The NHGs have inculcated self-confidence and entrepreneurship among their members. O. Prabhavath and N.H. Rajani, president and secretary respectively of the Amrithan Nutrimix unit named ‘Ojas’ in Kanhangad municipality, say the Kudumbasree movement has brought in change in their life. The 10-member unit remits Rs.10,000 a month towards loan repayment, and each member earns an average of Rs.75 a day.

K. Shobha, a member of the group that runs Swathi Offset Printing Press at Chattamchal in Chemnad panchayat echoes this. The printing press was started five years ago and it has been upgraded with an offset machine. Cashew apple and cashew nut procurement-cum-processing is going to be a major project under the Samagra Scheme being launched in the district under Kudumbasree. The three-phase project, ‘Saphalam,’ envisages the processing of 16,000 tonne cashew nuts and 50,000 tonne cashew apple a season. The project, with a total outlay of Rs.140.22 crore, is expected to create 18,90,000 workdays a year. The project has been accorded preliminary approval. Cage fish/mussel cultivation and production of palm leaf plates are two other projects under Samagra

Balasabha units in the district are very strong and have helped to strengthen the Kudumbasree NHGs, according to Kudumbasree members. There are 2,136 Balasabhas with 40,087 members and their thrift deposits totalled Rs.53.76 lakh. In April/May last, two Bala Kala Jathas — in Malayalam and Kannada languages — were conducted.

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