In a bid to build leadership of women in the community, we facilitated the formation of a women’s Self-Help Group (SHG) in Salepur Sangadi village of Jambusar, Gujarat called Jai Swaminarayan Group. The members of this SHG belong to an erstwhile tribal community that migrated from the Sardar Sarovar Dam submergence area of Madhya Pradesh and rehabilitated here.

With a specific focus on improving their livelihoods in the current settlement, the group collectively identified potential areas of income generation. Since this was a cattle-rearing community, all members of the group had cows, buffaloes and goats. Therefore, they took up the idea of establishing a milk collection centre, with support from CARE India. This was a not an easy decision for them, as they were short of knowledge and skills on one hand, and money on the other.

The newly established Jai Swaminarayan Group started conducting regular meetings and saving every month. They received the required training from CARE India’s project team on aspects related to dairy management, SHG book keeping and accounting. Additionally, some of the women received special training on dairying.

In January 2019, the milk collection centre was established in the village, registered as Doodh Dhara – The Bharuch Cooperative Society of Government. Within a short period of time, by utilising the savings from the group, they purchased utensils, a computer and machine for calculating the fat content in the milk, some of the basic requirements for opening the Centre, along with a structured governance mechanism. Milk collection varies according to the season. From March to July, the milk collection is limited to 135 litres per day and increases to about 200 litres between August to February. The cost per litre is estimated according to the fat content in the milk.

The group is now planning to expand the concept of a milk collection centre to other villages, and increase the supply to the cooperative, which is currently titled as a proposed dairy, not a registered entity yet. To bring in value addition to the centre, the women are considering broadening the scope of collection through milk collection vans. The milk collection centre offers a good and assured price for the milk delivered by the members, without any exploitation. In addition, cattle-owners who generate small quantities of surplus milk, but cannot afford to travel long distances to sell it, get the chance to enhance their incomes.

The Improved Agriculture and Inclusive Dairy Value Chain Promotion (IAIDVC) project focusses on the economic empowerment of women smallholders and workers to achieve the goal of long-term development in 59 villages of Jambusar block in Bharuch district, Gujarat.

Posted By : Shatarupa Kashyap
Location : Bharuch, Gujarat