Empowering Farm Women through Food Processing Entrepreneurship

Empowering Farm Women through Food Processing EntrepreneurshipUjjain district has a predominance of Soybean based cropping system with only soybean during kharif in about 95 per cent area followed by chickpea, wheat, potato, garlic and onion in Rabi season. Earlier, farmers used to grow tomato with open pollinated varieties without giving due consideration to its production technology and hence got low yield of around 150 quintals per hectare. KVK, Ujjain after identifying the potential area promoted the cultivation of hybrid tomato in the year 2007 with all the appropriate technologies such as use of hybrid varieties, management of nursery, integrated nutrient and pest management, use of pro-trays for raising seedlings and special interventions such as use of boron to tackle physiological disorders in tomato. Today, tomato is cultivated in 3500 ha area in the district with an average productivity of 250 to 325 quintals per hectare.

Due to very limited food processing facilities in Madhya Pradesh, the farmers had no option except to sell their produce at very low rates sometimes as low as rupees 2 to 3 per kg. Keeping this in view, KVK took initiative to provide alternative intervention so that 35 per cent of the total produce is preserved in the form of home made products. For this a tomato grower group was randomly selected by the adopted cluster area of KVK namely village Dewarakhedi, Bhesoda and Kapeli. Various types of on and off training programmes, OFTs and FLDs were organized in the mentioned villages’ especially on tomato preservation. Preservation of tomato products was demonstrated practically step wise to the farm women. For conducting the OFT and FLD purposively selected plants were tagged for preparation of ‘ketchup’.

Empowering Farm Women through Food Processing EntrepreneurshipEmpowering Farm Women through Food Processing Entrepreneurship

The impact of conducted programmes was achieved in terms of formation of two SHGs viz. ‘Ozen Self Help Group’ and ‘Jai Ma Durga’ established in 2008 with a capital asset of over 1.2 and 1.5 lakh rupees collected from the members. Farm women learned the Vocational skill of preparing tomato ketchup at domestic level under the guidance of Home Scientist of KVK. Looking in to the potential of the SHG and the market avenues, KVK decided to extend its platform for marketing of the product in the brand name ‘Raj Vijay Tomato Ketchup’ which is an abbreviation of all the products marketed by Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya (RVSKVV), Gwalior. After three years of frontline demonstrations the economics of tomato cultivation and that of preserved product was worked out which gives a clear picture and the farmers are able to earn 9.8 times more than what they use to earn during seasonal glut.

At present both the groups are capable of producing 2000 to 2500 kg of finished products. With market support the groups are planning to install a small processing unit with financial assistance from Bank Of India in the next financial year. Krishi Vigyan Kendra working at District level is bridging the gap between the farmers and research system by providing appropriate technology and platform for the farmers to strengthen their economic status.

(Source: KVK, Ujjain)