Sambalpur: The establishment of a mango processing unit by the district administration has helped women self-help groups battling the Covid-induced lockdown earn a livelihood and become self-reliant.
The Odisha Livelihoods Mission (OLM) and the Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) and the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) are aiding the district administration in this initiative.
As a result, a women’s self-help group in this district, which is involved in mango processing, has set a successful an example for others.
The members of Maa Parbati Producer Group (SHG) of Tainsar panchayat under Kuchinda block have come forward to produce various mango-based products through mango processing.
The women are producing mango pickle, dried mango pulp called ‘Ambasadha’, dried mango powder called ‘Amchur’, and dried salty mangoes called ‘Ambula’ in this unit.
A pickle firm in Berhampur has been roped in to provide necessary training to the women in mango processing. It is expected that they will reap the benefits of their efforts in three phases.
Reports said the state government is laying stress on women empowerment and has established a separate department for the purpose.
The state government, with an aim to make the women self-reliant, is providing them vocational training and financial assistance under the Mission Shakti Programme.
When contacted, Srimant Hota, district coordinator of ORMAS, said the district has witnessed a bumper harvest of mangoes this year but it is very difficult to sell the mangoes due to the lockdown imposed in the state.
Therefore efforts are being made to process the mangoes and sell them in the market by involving women’s self-help groups. The move has helped in making the women self-reliant as it has provided them with an earning opportunity.
In the first phase, the Kuchinda based-Maa Parbati Producer Group having strength of 35 members has been roped in for this programme. The women are selling mangoes cultivated in their orchards and also purchasing from other farmers to run the business in the mango processing unit.
The processing work is being done in utmost hygienic conditions, observing all safety norms and precautions.
The products are packed in hygienic packs and pasted with labels carrying the logo of the district administration and ORMAS for sale in the market.
Hota said priority will be given for sale of pickle in the Aahaar Kendras in the urban areas. Later, efforts will be made to sell the other products in the market on the basis of their demand.
In coming days, efforts will be made to involve other women selfhelp groups in the district in this business and increase the production of mango-based products. Moreover, plans are afoot to prepare pickles from chilli, ginger, lemon and garlic, he said.