Honey from Jawadhu hills which received the Agmark seal of quality would soon find a place in supermarkets in Chennai, Madurai and the northern districts. The receipt of Agmark seal for the famous honey of the eastern ghats has revived hope of the tribal women to achieve sustainable livelihood. Hitherto, they were selling the honey at a low price to agents and in open markets.
The officials of the Pudhu Vazhvu Project (PVP), following the direction of collector Dr Vijay Pingale, had taken the initiative to obtain the Agmark quality certificate to add value to the product. They had sent samples of the honey to Agmark’s regional laboratory in Chennai, in the first week of February.
“We received the quality standard approval for honey on April 10. It is a boost for the tribal women’s business activities,” assistant project manager of PVP, Tiruvannamalai, K M R Shanthi said.
Three Common Livelihood Groups (CLGs) -- Kalpana Chawla Honey and Tamarind Collection CLG in Komatteri village, Sarasthwathi Honey Collection CLG in Jamanuamaruthur and Roja Honey Collection CLG -- have been formed to promote Jawadhu honey in supermarkets in metros and neighbouring districts, Shanthi added.
A honey processing unit was established under the PVP in Komatteri tribal village at a cost of Rs 99,750. They were also provided with financial aid of Rs 62,000 for their business activities.
The CLGs have fixed the price of 1 kg of honey at Rs 260 and they were already earning a profit of Rs 30 to Rs 40 per kg. “We are now selling 350 to 400 kg of honey per month and making a profit of around Rs 10,000 to Rs 14,000, ” treasurer of Kalpana Chawla CLG, M Usharani said.