Sundargarh: The Mission Shakti Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) in Odisha have been engaged by the Government of Odisha in managing a wide range of semi technical and managerial fields going beyond the traditional assignments. On the same lines, the District administration Sundargarh delegated Paddy Procurement to WSHGs in 7 blocks on a pilot basis. The Women have proved their capability by achieving a collection of over 1 lakh 8 thousand 495 Quintals of paddy from 1,926 farmers in FY 2021-22 Kharif.
Under the aegis of Odisha Livelihoods Mission and in convergence with Mission Shakti and Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare Department, Govt of Odisha, the WSHG members were engaged in paddy procurement. The district administration assigned 8 SHGs on a pilot basis to 7 blocks of Sundargarh namely – Balisankra, Bargaon, Gurundia, Kuarmunda, Lahunipara, Lathikata and Lephripara.
“For the first time in Sundargarh, WSHGs have been tasked with procuring paddy in various blocks, upon the decision of the district level paddy procurement committee. They have achieved a good number. So, based on the success of the pilot project, now the administration plans to engage over 50 WSHGs of the district in the current Kharif season” informs Project Director District Dural Development Agency Sundargarh Bhairab Singh Patel.
According to Govt mandate, Women SHGs who have warehouse, road connectivity to Mandi, electricity and computer facility with data entry operator, were given the responsibility of procuring paddy. A two-day workshop was held in the district to train the SHG women on the procurement process. The women were skilled on how to register the farmers, determine the quality of the paddy for Fair Average Quality (FAQ), measure weight during collection of paddy and proper storage. The local Regulated Market Committee (RMC) provided technical assistance to the women.
The Jay Maa Mangala WSHG has collected the highest 43000 Quintals of paddy in Balisankra block while the Maa Thakurani WSHG has collected over 18000 Quintals of paddy in Lahunipara block of the district. Similarly, the Meghna WSHG of Lephripara collected 16000 Qt, Shanti WSHG of Bargaon collected 6643 Qt, Maa Tarini WSHG of Gurundia collected 4906 Qt, Indira WSHG of Kuarmunda collected 5886 Qt, Martha WSHG of Lahunipara collected 6160 Qt and Kamdhenu WSHG of Lathikata collected 6940 Qt of paddy in Sundargarh.
In Sundargarh district, Large Area Multipurpose Societies (LAMPS) and RMCs are engaged in collection of Paddy during both Kharif and Rabi seasons. However, to make the procurement process more effective and convenient for the farmers the women SHGs were given the task of managing the same. Moreover, this assignment has opened a new avenue of income generation while ensuring livelihood of the families of SHG Women. The district administration has engaged Mission Shakti WSHGs to procure paddy from Sundargarh farmers.