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Dalmia Cement promotes mushroom cultivation to strengthen livelihood security of women in Odisha



Dalmia Bharat Foundation (DBF), the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd (DCBL), is facilitating a range of training and exposure programs for Se​l​f Help Groups (SHGs), to ensure a dynamic and​ ​enabled environment geared towards growth and development. In continuation of its women empowerment initiatives for communities​ ​surrounding its Cuttack and Rajgangpur plants and Lanjiberna Mines, the company is promoting Mushroom Cultivation among women to provide opportunities and practical possibilities that improve their capacity to earn a livelihood.

With the market demand for mushroom on the rise and the economy slowly getting back to normal, the CSR team at Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited saw an opportunity to enable communities to benefit from these conditions. By training women in mushroom cultivation at Lanjiberna and its peripheral villages such as Kheramuta, Jangartoli, Rumabahal, Dhaurada, Lamloi, Bihabandh, Gyanpali, Samleimunda, Damposh, Ghoghar, Meromdega (Kukuda), etc. and providing SHGs with raw materials, Dalmia Cement is encouraging women to take up a skill to become financially independent.

“Support and opportunity are crucial for people that have struggled with discrimination and marginalization for generations, to emerge with confidence and determination and pursue a livelihood activity. Our CSR team has experienced this particularly​ ​in their work with women’s groups and with persons with disabilities,” said Ganesh W. Jirkuntwar, Senior ED & National Manufacturing Head, DCBL.

“By facilitating​ ​diverse skill trainings in Cuttack, Rajgangpur and Lanjiberna mines areas, especially at the grassroots, we believe that​ ​we will be able to bind people together to support each​ ​other through SHGs; and this will have a positive social impact​ ​on beneficiaries​ ​as well as within communities because of the access to life changing opportunities being offered,” he added.

At present most of the villages in Lanjiberna and Rajgangpur periphery area have mushroom cultivation units enabling women to earn upto Rs. 5000 a month. Each beneficiary has laid 30 to 40 beds for mushroom farming which yields around 3kg mushroom from each bed. Similarly, paddy straw mushroom is cultivated from July to October making women independent; and plays a vital role in supporting their families.

In Cuttack area, 30 members of 4 SHGs including Baba Jogeswar SHG of Amiyajhari village, Jay Trinath SHG, Matru Shakti SHG and Sai Sharana SHG of Safa village are involved in mushroom cultivation as their income generation activity.  Dalmia Cement provided training and seeds, and from their side, they are investing in straw, polythene, besan etc. enabling them to earn an average income per member of upto Rs 4000 per month.

Speaking about how the skill training has made her self-dependent, Sabitri Patra, member of Priyalaxmi SHG of Dharada village said, “I earned around Rs 8000-10000 per month from mushroom cultivation across 10 months of the year, barring two summer months. This helps me support my children’s education and also helps my husband manage the household better. I’m also engaged in imparting training to other women as I want to spread awareness of these benefits​ ​and make women independent like me. I’m truly indebted to Dalmia Cement for their support and guidance that has helped me reach such heights.”

Women like Sabitri Patra of Dharada Village, Filisia Kullu and Seema Ekka of Lanjiberna village, Kamala Sahoo, Laxmi Sahoo of Kheramuta and Sanjali Banchor of Bihabandh village are among those who are also benefited by adopting mushroom cultivation. Apart from mushroom farming, Dalmia Cement through its CSR initiatives is also engaged in promoting various income generating programs like spices making, pickle making, floriculture, organic vegetables farming, terracotta products making, etc in various villages.

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