Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd (DCBL), a subsidiary of Dalmia Bharat Ltd is aiming to provide ‘jeevika’ to 1 million rural women through enterprise development progamme in mushroom cultivation in Odisha. Mushroom farming is a low investment and profitable agri-business model that can be easily adopted by impoverished women for generating sustainable income and be self-reliant. Dalmia Cement is facilitating the training programme for Self Help Group (SHG) women in communities surrounding its plants in Cuttack, Rajgangpur and Lanjiberna Mines, enabling them to earn an additional income of Rs. 5000 a month through establishment of mushroom cultivation units.
As a case study in point, Dalmia Cement’s Kapilash Cement Manufacturing Works (KCMW) in Cuttack, in the last 7 months witnessed 130 SHG members selling around 300 kg mushrooms in the local markets earning profits worth Rs. 75,000. In Rajgangpur, 140 women from 17 villages have benefited through this programme.
Two types of mushrooms are locally grown and available in the markets for sale – Paddy straw and Oyster mushrooms. Preparing one bed of mushrooms, costs around Rs.40 – Rs.50 and from each bed, the profits earned can be up to Rs.300. It is also eco-friendly as agricultural waste can be used as substrate for the mushroom beds. These mushrooms can be grown for 10 months in a year and aids underprivileged women to earn well for supporting their families. Dalmia Cement provides raw materials and market linkage support to all SHG women to build their own cultivation enterprises. Apart from being a fast-yielding produce, mushrooms are also a nutritious source of food. With high protein and vitamin content, it is recommended as a healthy food by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations.
Commenting on this initiative, Shri Bhavesh Wala, Deputy Executive Director, DCBL and Unit Head-KCMW, said, “With the economy bouncing back gradually post covid, we noticed a rise in demand for mushrooms in the local markets. We identified this as a potential opportunity for sustainable income generation for marginalized women in surrounding communities. Many participants have benefitted from this programme and have built a reliable source of income for themselves. We hope in the coming months we can continue to encourage more women to build their own units and become financially independent.”
Dalmia Cement has been promoting various income generation and skill development programs in the region for empowering disadvantaged women and providing them an opportunity to earn a secure livelihood. Apart from mushroom farming, initiatives like Project Hastakala – handicraft production, spices and pickle making, flower and organic vegetable farming, terracotta products making, etc have been introduced.
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