Strawberry farming paving way to economic empowerment for women in Kandhamal
Kandhamal is home to indigenous Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) like Kondh (Kandha) and Kotia kandha. It lies at a height of approx 600 m above mean sea level.
The Kandamal district, which has now set its foot in cultivation of strawberries, is paving the way towards economic empowerment for the tribal farmers especially women in the district. "We have started the strawberry cultivation on a pilot basis to improve the livelihood & economic condition of the tribal farmers especially women through this high value crop, which is more profitable than the traditional vegetables," said Ashish Iswar Patil, Collector and District Magistrate of Kandhamal.
Kandhamal is home to indigenous Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) like Kondh(Kandha) and Kotia kandha. It lies at a height of approx 600 m above mean sea level. As per the District Administration, as many as seven numbers of suitable patches (about 14 acres) were selected on pilot basis in 6 blocks including Phulbani, Phiringia, Chakapada, Raikia, Baliguda and Daringbadi and the fields were taken up by Women Self-Help Group (WSHG) members on lease basis. Each SHG consists of 15-20 members.
"Elizabeth, Women SHG of Daringbadi block, Ashirbad, WSHG of Raikia block and other groups were cultivating winter vegetables like cabbage, cauliflowers, beans, etc., with annual income up to Rs 10000 - 15000 per acre but now these Women SHGs are getting profit up to 2.5 to 3 lakh rupees within just 3-4 months by growing strawberries in the same patch," said Collector Ashish. Ashish added, "The Field level trainings were given by the experts to the members of Women Self-Help Groups engaged in this, Officers from horticulture department had also gone for a field visit to Mahabaleswar, Maharastra to gain practical knowledge on strawberry cultivation."
These Strawberries are being sold in the name of Daringbadi Strawberry (a famous place which is called Kashmir of Odisha) and District Administration is providing the market linkage to them across the state. The quality, aroma and size of the Kandhamal berries are superior than those from other parts of the country because of frost free prolonged winter period. The day and nocturnal temperature of Kandhamal is conducive for quality of the berries.
The district administration has engaged various departments like Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM), Horticulture, and Watershed Department through convergence programme. Land assessment and bed preparation has been done under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGEGA) schemes of Watershed Department, similarly inputs of high value crops under Mission Shakti scheme provided by OLM department. Horticulture department has provided Drip Irrigation under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana - Per Drop More Crop (PMKSY - PDMC) scheme and mulching material under Mission for intergated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) scheme.
Along with the Cultivation of strawberry, the District Administration has made further plan of action to initiate the cultivation of high value crop like Dragon fruit, blue berry and cherry fruits on pilot basis to increase the income of tribal families of Kandhamal District. (ANI)
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