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Cooperative helps families stay rooted
Jharkhand: The initiative is part of a strategy devised by the NGO Pradan or Professional Assistance for Development Action to stem distress migration in Jharkhand.

Baro Devi a resident of village Hotwar, Lohardaga, Jharkhand owns less than an acre of land. She has no one to help her cultivate the land. In summers, the land was rendered useless and she used to migrate to Gorakhpur with the other villagers to work in brick kilns.

That was two years ago. The mother of three children, living alone, now earns Rs 1,535 a month sitting at home. This, ever since she joined a poultry cooperative.

She sells hen to the cooperative and earns a living. So do 420 other members in this cooperative in Lohardaga. Each member rears chicks and sell them to the cooperative which in turn sells them in the open market. The cooperative’s governing body fixes the price of the birds.

The poultry cooperative is part of a strategy devised by the NGO Pradan or Professional Assistance for Development Action to stem distress migration in Jharkhand.

The self-help groups which had been under Pradan’s guidance were all motivated to group themselves in cooperatives which in turn were bunched under a federation.

Jharkhand Womens’ Poultry Self-Supporting Co-operative Federation Ltd was registered in March, 2005, with a financial grant of Rs 15 lakh from the state government.

The federation which now has has six cooperatives has a total of 1,754 producers and an installed floor area of 570,000 sq ft grows 270,000 chicks per month making it the largest poultry operation in eastern India.

The federation’s operations are spread over Lohardaga, Gumla, Ranchi, East Singhbhum, Bokaro and Kodarma. Like Baro Devi, Susma Devi of village Kungarha also is a member of the Lohardaga cooperative. She is the chairperson of the Lohardaga Grameen Poultry Cooperative Society Ltd.

She also owned one acre of land where paddy and maize were produced. The products sustain her family for around 4 months and for the rest of the year she sells hen to the cooperative and earns Rs 1,500 per month.

Dayamoni Oraon of village Kurudorotoli in Lohardaga, a matriculate, was unemployed and used to be part of the group migrating to Gorakhpur every summer.

Today she earns enough alongwith her husband Anup Kumar Munda a government school teacher to stop her from migrating every year. Incidentallly, her husband earns Rs 1,000 per month, less than what she earns through her chicks.

The women need to own a piece of land of 15 to 20 sq feet to keep the chicks. Each member also has to invest Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 in the cooperative.

The member gets a grant from the state government and a bank loan of Rs 12, 000 with interest of 8.5 per cent repayable in six years. The savings and lending done by members within each self-help group take care that the loans are repayed on time.

All the chairpersons of the primary co-operative societies are the governing board members of the federation. A Pradan executive is the CEO. The turnover for the last financial year was Rs 72 lakh. Project team leader of Pradan, Pawan Ojha said they expect it to cross Rs 1.5 crore this year.

Source : www.business-standard.com
Date : July 20, 2007