BHUBANESWAR: In less than a week after announcing interest-free loan up to Rs 3 lakh for women Self Help Groups (SHGs), the State Government is set to introduce a new project that is aimed at providing livelihood support and income augmentation.
The project, to be implemented by the Directorate of Horticulture in convergence with Mission Shakti for a period of two years, will promote mushroom cultivation and commercial vegetable farming in a cluster mode.
As proposed, mushroom and vegetable cultivation on commercial scale will enhance community nutrition aid livelihood security through capacity building of SHG members to sustainably manage farm-based resources.
Director of Horticulture Bijay Ketan Upadhyaya said, commercial gardening activities will not only ensure nutritional security for BPL population resulting in better use of household resources, but also generate additional income.
“The project will promote recycling of agro-waste and protection of environment besides addressing a priority area of poverty alleviation. It will also reduce the expenditure on vegetable purchase by the members and ensure fresh organic vegetables,” he said.
Altogether 9000 women SHGs will be selected depending on their financial condition for the two-year project. While the Government would provide 40 per cent of the capital expenditure under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, the groups have to invest the rest 60 per cent which will also be facilitated in terms of bank linkage.
“Nearly 3,000 SHGs, 10 per block will be promoted for mushroom cultivation and 6,000 SHGs, 20 per block for vegetable cultivation. The groups having separate space of nearly 600 sq feet area for construction of mushroom production unit will be selected,” Upadhyaya said.
As estimated, each SHG would require Rs 1 lakh for construction of structure for mushroom cultivation. Both the varieties - paddy straw and oyster mushroom will be promoted. The programme will be taken up in clusters to facilitate marketing.
While scientists from local Krishi Vigyan Kendras and senior horticulture officials will supervise and guide the beneficiaries, Mission Shakti will take up capacity building activities and impart training to members. As per an estimation, around 90,000 women members will benefit from the project during 2019-20 and 2020-21.
On January 5, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced loan at zero per cent interest for SHGs under Mission Shakti scheme besides Rs 15,000 seed money for new SHGs and Rs 3,000 to purchase smartphones for women’s financial inclusion and digital empowerment.