Ranchi April 08 (HS) On the instructions of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, efforts are being made to increase the income of the people living in remote villages through the available forest produce in Jharkhand. The abundance of tamarind trees in the forest areas of the state is now becoming a source of employment. Susheela Munda of Shillada village of Khunti is happy doing the work of collecting tamarind.
Last year, Sushila earned Rs 40,000 by collecting one ton of tamarind. Sushila says, I never thought that the tamarind available for free in the jungles can earn so much. Lolen Samad Tamarind of Kesra village, typical of Simdega, Etangar, is doing the collection and processing of tamarind. Lolen Samad has seven tamarind trees, which gives him a yield of about three tonnes of tamarind every year. Lollen earns up to one lakh rupees a year through tamarind production, which enables her to give higher education to her children. In such a situation, it can be said that the rural women of the state are dissolving the sweetness of livelihood in their lives with the sourness of tamarind.
Women Farmer Empowerment Project under Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society under Rural Development Department is becoming helpful in providing good income for rural women by performing tamarind collection and processing. Through the collection of tamarind, women are making good profits at a nominal cost. At present 14,731 farmers are involved in the production and processing of tamarind under the Women Farmer Empowerment Project in five districts of Simdega, Ranchi, Gumla, West Singhbhum and Khunti. Through the Women Farmer Empowerment Project, farmers have been imparted training and processing through modern equipment. Last year, 11,000 women farmers of the state collected 112 metric tons of tamarind and traded more than 39 lakh. Currently, a total of 14,731 women farmers have been targeted to collect and trade 309 metric tons of tamarind, out of which 86 metric tons of tamarind are being collected and processed. It is expected to earn more in the coming days through this initiative.
The collection and sale of tamarind is being carried out through the producer group under the project, says Lolen. Earlier, we had to sell tamarind by going to the haat-bazaar, profit was reduced due to increase in cost and not getting the right price. But now it is not so. Now the right price of the crop is also available and one does not even have to go far from the village to sell the crop. We harvest crops using modern equipment such as Secure and also use the weighing machine easily. Through the rural service center, we are extracting and processing tamarind seeds by making tamarind cake, which is in great demand in the market.
Under the Mahila Kisan Project, women farmers associated with tamarind production are also making tamarind cakes through the tamarind processing unit. In these processing units, the rural women are doing all the work from making seeds from tamarind to preparing pulp and making cakes of tamarind through modern machines. Women working in processing units also receive a daily honorarium, which leads to their additional earnings. Tamarind Cake is being made available in the market under the Palash brand, which is earning a good amount for women farmers. Naturally available tamarinds are being processed and sold under the Palash brand at various Palash Marts and Cell counters in the state through the Grameen Seva Kendra.
Through the Palash brand, products manufactured by women entrepreneurs from remote rural areas of Jharkhand are gaining a new identity and popularity in the market. Community based tamarind collection and processing is being done through 11 Gramin Seva Kendras at various places in the state. These rural service centers are operated by the Organization of Rural Women. At the same time, the price of tamarind is also getting good by doing good packaging and marketing under the Palash brand.