It was in 2006, that 28-year-old Mayalaksmi from Panruti’s Konchikuppam village married Elilarasan. Mayalakshmi’s parents had trained her in Cashew processing techniques however her husband was an agriculture coolie, who didn’t know much about Cashew. Soon after marriage, the couple started struggling financially. Mayalakshmi was determined to change the circumstances and finally urged her husband to allocate a small corner in the front yard for de-shelling cashew on commission basis.

Even today, when she looks back, she distinctly remembers the time when she started her work under a tree in the yard in 2006-07. Within two years, through her hard work, Mayalakshmi saved enough to purchase two de-shelling machines and a small drier.

With her continuous efforts and her husband’s support, she then constructed a small shed and procured two more new de-shelling machines for extending the production from 320 kg to 1280 kg per week. To increase the production, Mayalakshmi sought support from money lenders who would lend 2-3 lakhs with an exorbitant interest rate of 48%. It diminished her returns and increased her production. But eventually, she managed well and slowly increased her income.

During that crucial time, CARE / USAID team visited her unit and provided guidance on availing Government subsidies and bank support for purchasing new peeling machines (Cashew kernel). By August 2015, Mayalakshmi was sanctioned Rs.5 lakhs from the District Industrial Centre and Central Bank of India with the subsidy of Rs. 1.25 lakhs.

She procured a new high-quality peeling machine and a power generator immediately after she received the money and initiated the production within a month’s time, by Sept.15.

By October, she got work from over 12 small companies and has processed peeling of 8350 kgs. of kernels with top husk. After increased profits and other costs, she re-invested the balance amount in the procurement of raw nuts. The additional earning now has minimised the money requirement from the money lenders.

“CARE / WLSME Programme intervened at the right time in my business life. Before this, I only knew people in my village. I had no idea about government offices and no knowledge of operating bank accounts. CARE / WLSME Programme team has taught me a lot. Because of their guidance, I’ve now named and registered my company, got my PAN card made, opened a current account and fulfilled all other legal procedures up to the level of applying for a subsidised loan at District industrial Centre (DIC). Currently I able to make 3-4 times more than my previous income. I will not stop my effort until I reach my vision. Currently, I am approaching another bank for working capital support of Rs.10 lakhs. (15,380 $). If I get this loan, I will be able to increase my production and income almost four times, without having to worry about the looting money lenders. My family and I, see CARE /WLSME team as hope bearers in our lives. I am enormously confident to grow higher up the business ladder,” Mayalakshmi said.


Posted By : Moses Samuel