Nearly 700 women of Telangana, India, now earn yearly dividends from a processing facility run by a women’s collective. This modest investment could well be a model for increasing incomes of farmers and empowering women.
ICRISAT, through its Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP), in collaboration with the Government of Telangana state, set up a groundnut processing facility in Dattaipally village following analysis of the region’s agriculture sector. The facility was installed to strengthen livelihoods of farmers and empower women who are part of a women’s collective called Mahila Mandal Samaikya (MMS). The processing facility produces groundnut oil, chikki (a mix of peanut and jaggery), groundnut paste and graded kernel for further processing. The groundnut is sourced from farmers of Wanaparthy District, where the village lies. AIP estimates that with good yielding varieties and scientific crop cultivation technology, value addition interventions, like the Dattaipally unit, can enhance income of groundnut farmers by as much as 30%.
“The main objective is to get local women to run the facility. The second objective is to ensure a market for the crop. The products we make are sold under the brand name ‘Wana’. We currently get an order for 1,000 liters of groundnut oil a month through a farmers’ collective. The unit is starting to impact the lives of the women,” said Ms Renuka Devi, Assistant District Rural Development Officer, Wanaparthy.
After testing and initial runs since the unit’s installation in October 2018, AIP handed over the facility to MMS. However, AIP continues to mentor the women in production, quality standardization, food safety and operational management of the unit.
“We were earlier working ad-hoc jobs and worried about earning a daily wage. The plant has been good for us as we get paid monthly wages, which are higher than what we earned earlier,” a woman working at the facility told visiting journalists.
The Dattaipally plant can process 500 tons of groundnut a year. Women working in the plant earn a monthly wage while those not working at the facility earn annual dividends for being a member of MMS.
“For the people of Wanaparthy, often forced to seek employment in other areas, groundnut processing could provide entrepreneurial opportunities. Farmers in the region benefit from processing as their produce does not fetch high rates in the market,” said S Aravazhi, Chief Operating Officer at AIP.