‘Spice Cultivation’ adds value and benefit to the Women Entrepreneurs amidst Lockdown in Assam

By Anindita Deka

Spice cultivation has been taken up as special livelihood intervention by Assam State Rural Livelihoods Mission (ASRLM) in several blocks of Tinsukia District including Sadiya and Itakhuli amidst lockdown allowing value addition and benefit to them.

Early this year Self Help Group(SHG) members under ASRLM have fetched good income by selling their raw produces in the market. Further realizing the potential of value addition of spices, officials under ASRLM has encouraged SHGs for the same.

Rupoboti Moran, Seema Moran, Momi Moran, Monita Moran and Sushila Moran are engaged in different livelihood activities like weaving, working as casual labour in tea gardens etc. Just before the lockdown started these five SHG members from the “Hahokhi” (all from 5 different SHGs) Village Organization under Itakhuli block took a bold step and procure more than 1100 kg of turmeric at a cost of Rs. 16 per KG from the nearest block Sadiya.

With the solar drier received from ASRLM, they have started drying the raw turmeric. When the declaration of lockdown came out, they had procured another 5380 KGs of raw turmeric from Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh at the same price and started drying. Further, they have packaged the same under ASOMI, the umbrella brand of ASRLM during the lockdown period and made the same available in the local market.

Till date, they have all together dried and grinded around 1400 KGs of turmeric and earned an income of Rs. 21000/- at the rate of Rs. 250 per KG.  The rest of the turmeric has also been booked by local vendors and people from here and thereafter seeing their post on Facebook and through prompt marketing strategies by the Block Officials of ASRLM.

Likewise value addition of Mushroom has also been done under Hapjan block by SHG members of 5 numbers of village organizations namely Jayanti, Hunali, Aradhana, Sasya Shyamalan and Prerona. These members have accumulated locally available fresh mushrooms from SHG members, who were unable to sale their produces due to nationwide Lockdown and were at a loss. A total of 65 Kgs of dried mushrooms have been packaged and sold by these members at a rate of Rs. 500/- per Kg to vendors from Dibrugarh district. 

Likewise, the Value addition process has been initiated in different blocks and districts under ASRLM to process raw fruits and vegetables to make pickles, tomato sauce, jam, etc to fetch good price instead of wastage or low price received from perishable items. 

(A special thanks to District officials of Tinsukia, Block Officials of Itakhuli & Hapjan under ASRLM for paving the way and showering hope amidst Lockdown by different Value Chain Activities)

Author Anindita Deka is a Member of Livelihood Vertical of Assam State Rural livelihoods Mission.