The Weekend Leader – Nilgiris tribal women open cooperative to market forest products

A group of tribal women from the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu have started a cooperative to sell forest products as part of their entrepreneurship.

Nelakottai Kattunayakan Women’s Cottage Industry Cooperative was established at Achutham moola in Kottayimedu, Nellakottai on January 21st.

Currently, honey is the main product sold by the cooperative. The women get the honey from the men who get their supplies in the forest, then donate it to the cooperative. Four varieties of honey are sold by the cooperative at a fair price.

Other products like yams, ginger, wild turmeric, wild amla and medicinal herbs are harvested and will be sold through the women’s cooperative.

Currently, 21 women are working in the cooperative which has 12 members and 9 contributors and they collect forest products from three villages – Kottayamedu, Vilangur and Nadukkadu.

Cooperative Chairman R. Sujatha, speaking to IANS, said, “We collect the products from the forest and also buy the products collected from the men in our community. The cooperative has 12 female members and 9 We all work, which includes a collection of produce, weighing and measuring of collected produce, cleaning and packing of produce and all work including accounting is done by all of us together. gives us a decent source of life and we are happy.

The Federation of the Particularly Vulnerable Nilgiris Tribal Group (NPVTG) helped the tribal women set up the cooperative, Sujatha said.

Chairman of the cooperative, R. Sujatha, speaking to IANS, said: “In the beginning, our people sold honey at Rs 200-300 per kg and after the establishment of the cooperative, we sourced honey from our men at 600 rupees per kg We bottle this honey, label it and then sell it for Rs 1100. This shows how we were exploited before and you can see that from Rs 200 per kg to Rs 1100 per kg there is a difference of Rs 900 per kilogram of honey. we start selling other products, the lives of women in our tribal settlement will be totally changed.”

Tribal activist Lakshmanan said that now tribes are becoming more self-reliant and social and economic changes and information through new social media platforms has helped the tribal community know their rights and the cooperative is a first step in the right direction. -IANS

Virginia S. Braud