Ganjam Haat: Empowering Local Women Entrepreneurs To Make Them Self-Reliant

Berhampur: Any effort intended at empowering the local entrepreneurs such as Women Self Help Groups, artisans, small manufacturers and neighborhood producers requires the use of modern technology and marketing management. The success will depend on fully leveraging the available expertise and creating a conducing environment with the help of government support. An example of such an effort is taking shape in Ganjam district in Odisha in the form of Ganjam Haat – a program by the district administration taken up under the 5T Initiative.

In a diverse country like India, small businesses are significant to local economic development. But a number of barriers hold them back to prosper and compete with the established players having deep pockets. Intervention by the government is of utmost importance to make those local businesses success. The survival and the success of the small entrepreneurs and the businesses becomes more important today when the country if fighting a battle against the pandemic. The District Rural Development Agency is spearheading the project to help the local Women Self Help Group Members improve their livelihoods.

The Ganjam District administration’s innovative initiative through Ganjam Haat is the best project at this time in ensuring the empowerment of local Women Entrepreneurs, Women Self Help Groups, artisans, small manufacturers and neighborhood producers. The administration has come up with a digital platform for them with which the products produced by them will reach every nook and corner of the district.

The Ganjam Haat Online Marketing App has been launched which will make available a range of farm, non- farm, off-farm, NTPF products, handicrafts and handloom products made by WSHGs, PGs, farmers and artisans of the district. It will also play a major role in coordination of Ganjam Haat Marketing Society with wholesalers, retailers and traders for sale of products. Ganjam Haat Marketing Society is the marketing partner of Ganjam Gruhini Producer Company, Sabuja Ganjam Producer Company and Ganjam Paridhan Producer Company.

The three producer companies produce various types of pickles, papad, badi, squash, agarbatti, sauces, chips, jaggery cakes, edible oils, packaged NTFP products, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, dairy and poultry products, ladies garments, school uniforms, masks, handloom and woolen products. The app will help them to display showcase and market their products. The three producer companies support about 100 Producer Groups that are actively working and sustaining the livelihoods of about more than three thousand Women Self Help Groups. They have joined the initiative and acquired a new skill set of communication, marketing and sales, leading to a viable income generating opportunity. The women group members are involved in primary and secondary processing of the produces procured by the three companies promoted by government agencies ORMAS and OLM. According to Shinde Dattatraya Bhausaheb, Project Director, DRDA, Ganjam “we have started the program to support the low income groups by providing them with a digital platform to sell their produce. Ganjam Haat will help them popularize the local stuff and create a demand. Looking at the success, we will expand the capacity and involve more and more women producers.”

The business model adopted intends to have a low business target initially to ensure maintain quality of products. In terms of business turnover, it expects transactions of about Rs 12 lakhs to Rs 15 lakhs mainly from the city of Berhampur. The available manpower and the resources will cater to the needs of the city and there are plans to increase the coverage to other Blocks and NACs. The Ganjam administration has also planned to open a retail mall at Berhampur and Ganjam Haat outlets at 22 blocks and NACs in the district. The initiative has the potential to expand its operations on a wider scale and reach state level in the coming days. Ganjam Gruhini Producer Company has a FSSAI license to produce various food items which will help them to venture outside the district. In the next few years, we can see a home grown digital platform that competes the big players and makes it easy for the people of the state get quality products at their doorsteps.

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