Women Self Help Groups at the Forefront of Entrepreneurship in Dairying

Despite contributing majorly in household chores and being the predominant players in dairying farming activities - one of the major livelihood options for 70 million farm families in India, the women lack the support and encouragement from their family and society. Also the meagre financial resources make their participatory decision making almost impossible. But, the motivation and encouragement to obtain education and training adequately can enable them to take-up the income generating activities and help in demonstrating their self-reliance.

Women Self Help Groups at the Forefront of Entrepreneurship in Dairying  Women Self Help Groups at the Forefront of Entrepreneurship in Dairying

Being encouraged by the Project entitled “Improving Livelihood of Rural Women through Dairy based Secondary Agriculture” undertaken by the ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana for sensitizing and motivating the rural women to take-up dairy based livelihood options, the women folks of Haryana took-up the practice of dairy based livelihood activities by forming the Self Help Groups (SHGs) in their nearby vicinity. The initiative has helped the women folks to earn a respectable status in their societies along with providing them with an opportunity to earn an additional income for their families. The Project funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India during 2017-2020 aim at the socio-economic development of rural women through dairying motivates the women folks for utilizing their spare time on dairy based livelihood activities by forming Self Help Groups (SHGs).

Around two to three members of each group looks after milk collection; an equal number of them make products and package them; one facilitates marketing and another maintains accounts. In such a way, each member spends 2 to 3 hours in a day for the activities. It facilitates a group with 4 to 8 women members to take up a dairy based entrepreneurial venture easily while earning additional income for their families.

The women folks are provided with the training and demonstration on preparation of milk based products. Around 50 trainings were organized covering 635 rural women from 27 villages on value-added dairy products. The training programmes were designed as per the National Skills Qualification Framework (NSQF) prescribed by the National Skill Council of India.

The ICAR-NDRI, Karnal, Haryana carried out the on-campus training at its Women Empowerment Lab. With an aim to train maximum women folks the Institute conducted the training programmes in selected villages among which the three Districts of Haryana (Karnal - 7, Panipat - 2 and Sonipat - 1) have shown remarkable performance. Most of the groups in the initial stage of their business venture have already started earning an additional income ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000 per group. It has also helped in promoting the availability of unadulterated and healthy dairy products of good quality to the consumers.

The groups are now selling their products in the nearby areas during marriages along with the other family functions and also at government fairs and events. The Shri Ram SHG from Manglora Village in Karnal District took loan for Rs.10.5 lakhs from State bank of India to purchase dairy animals. It sells milk, paneer, whey drink and Gulab Jamun in the village itself as well as in fairs organized by the NABARD and State Line Departments. The two groups from Karnal District namely - Shivam SHG, Bharatpur Village and Santoshi SHG, Hasanpur Village are selling Ghee and Khoa, respectively, in their own villages.

The Bharti SHG from Karnal District also won Best Stall Award and earned Rs. 35,000 by selling Gulab Jamun in the Saras Mela of International Gita Mahotsav held at Kurukshetra from 22nd November, 2019 to 10th December, 2019 and Rs. 70,000 by selling Gulab Jamun in Saras Mela of International Saraswati Mahotsav held at Kurukshetra from 27th to 29th January, 2020.

During the National Dairy Mela organized by the Institute from 15th to 17th February, 2020, two Women SHGs - Bharti SHG, Karnal and Sashakt SHG, Sonipat participated and exhibited their skill by selling Gulab Jamun for Rs. 10,000 and Ghee for Rs. 15,000, respectively. The Bharti SHG also won the first position in Paneer Making Competition.

A group known as Aarzoo SHG from Pattikalyana Village, Panipat District is now selling Paneer in their own village. Another Group known as Lakshmi SHG from Dinger Majra Village, Karnal also got the opportunity to serve Gulab Jamun during the Meeting of “Haryana Vigyan Manch” on the occasion of World Environment Day held at Gharaunda Block on 5th June, 2019.

The SHGs also displayed their products for sale at Delhi Public School, Panipat Refinery as well. Seeing the contingency of the current outbreak of COVID-19, some SHGs also distributed the face masks prepared by the women folks along with milk products as per the demand of the local villagers. The sustainability of these groups is ensured by conducting follow-up training programmes and facilitation of further market tie-ups.

The Project Team utilized the services of NABARD, Haryana State Rural Livelihood Mission (HSRLM), Jan Kalyan Samiti and Shaheed Virender Singh Samarak Samiti for group formation, motivation, facilitation for market linkage and bank loan and arrangement for sale of products during the fairs and functions. The planning to provide canteen facilities in the State Government premises is also being done to ensure the regular income for group members. The customers are also ready to pay 10% to 20% additional prices for the supply of genuine dairy products.

It helped to empower the women folks to become self-dependent and earn their livelihoods. This, in turn, promoted the themes of Self Reliance (Atma-nirbharta) and Vocal for Local as envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister.

(Source: DST Project Team, ICAR-National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, Haryana)