It is never easy for financially deprived women, to break the shackles of society and stand on her own feet. But 45 years old Urmila Linda is doing just that from lac business. Coming from a poor background, she had to drop out of her school after passing the 8th standard. Her father died at an early age, and owing to her mother’s illness, she compelled to discontinue her schooling to make ends meet for her family. Her brothers were also forced to drop out of their school. Though her uncle was in the Army, still they did not get any help from him financially. They had only 0.2 acre of land, which they used for growing paddy only, which was mostly used for home consumption.
She got married in the year 2009, joined SHG in the year 2013 and started working as Van Sakhi in 2016. Through DAY-NRLM she has undergone 25 days of training on essential crop rearing, brood harvesting mechanism, and institution level business plan at Indian Institute of Natural Resins and Gums. After the training, she became a master Van Sakhi and started working with 125 women farmers those are engaged in lac cultivation.
Earlier farmer’s harvest was less as they were doing lac without following any PoP. They used to tie brood anywhere without proper bundling, pruning was not done, spraying was not done for killing the pest, the white wash was not done and even removal of phunki was done before 21 days of inoculation which results in low income and less productivity.
Now after Urmila got exposed to so many trainings, she has adopted the proper PoP, which includes adequate pruning for trees before 6 months, proper bundling, time gap of 21 days is maintained for phunki removal after inoculation, Spray is used in a difference of 30, 60, and 90 days, which has doubled her income every month. Looking after the success made by Urmila all the 125 women farmers have adopted the proper PoP in their lac cultivation. After that, the women farmer’s income has increased from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 20,000 with 10 to 15 host plants in one cycle. Phunki Removal has given an extra income of Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 7,000 which was not in practice earlier. From 20 kg of harvest from 20 berry plants without the adherenece to PoP to 200 kg of harvest from the same number of trees after following proper PoP.
The training given to women farmers by Urmila Linda has been instrumental in promoting Lac Cultivation and bringing women farmers into a profitable mode while improving the financial condition. Training is given to Self Help Group of her village as well as other’s village where she showcases her training skills in 25 days of the drive, which includes facilitation and handholding support from Inoculation till harvest. Increase in brood production has made it enough for sale and for keeping the brood for the next cycle.
Last year, the scrap lac was sold and profit of around Rs. 90,000 was made by her. During the year 2018-19, she earned Rs. 2,50,000. This is very encouraging, not only as an individual farmer but also for the development of the village.
Today farmers of Bundubeda are doing lac cultivation very enthusiastically; as a result, the yield and profit are more compared to other kinds of traditional farming techniques.
Urmila is using the profit generated from lac cultivation by sending her children to school and regularly savings for future use. She has also bought a vehicle for her husband.