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Nalbari woman shows the way to self-employment
Ramen Kalita

Entrepreneur Kanika Talukdar at her work site. – Photo: Nalbari Correspondent
 NALBARI, July 10 - When her husband died in an accident, Kanika Talukdar of Tihu area in Nalbari district was rendered totally helpless with her six-month-old daughter. As the financial position of her husband’s family was very poor, she came back to her maternal family after his demise.

 However, the young woman felt that her old father was now having to face an additional burden and so she tried to do something for self-employment. She did not get any self-employment avenue, as she had no money to invest. Fortunately, she came in contact with some scientists of Nalbari KVK who asked her to take up a short-term training. The training changed her life as she found a way to set up a vermi-compost unit with a small investment at her home. Now her annual income goes up to Rs 7 lakh per annum.

Kanika Talukdar of Borjar village was passing a miserable life after the death of her husband in 2008. “At that moment, I was totally helpless and had lost patience in search of a job for my and my little daughter’s survival,” she lamented before this correspondent when he met her recently.

Though, she was engaged in different on and off-farm activities for her livelihood, but the income was not sufficient. In 2014, she attended a training on vermi-compost production technology. It was the first time she came to know about vermi-compost and she was very much attracted towards its production.

After the training, she started the production of vermi-compost as an enterprise. “As my financial condition was not good, initially I selected that technology which required a comparatively lesser investment. I started the unit utilising organic waste materials and cow dung available in my own house.”

As she was a resource-poor farmer, initially she constructed low-cost tanks with locally available materials like bamboo as per the guidance provided by Dr Manasi Chakravarty, specialist, Soil Science of KVK, Nalbari. The KVK, Nalbari also supported her by providing one kg of earthworms for the vermi-compost production. The District Agriculture Office, Nalbari also facilitated her by providing four vermi beds.

“In the first year, I produced only 17 quintals of vermi-compost and earned Rs 16,300. In the subsequent year, my production increased to 66 quintals and I earned Rs 66,000. I sold 150 quintals of vermi-compost and earned Rs 1,40,000 in 2017,” she said. “In this way, production has been increasing gradually year after year, and now I am producing an average of 100 tonnes of vermi-compost per year.”

Her annual income from vermi-compost is Rs 6-7 lakh annually. She has also branded the product as ‘Jay Vermi Compost’ for marketing as per the guidance of KVK, Nalbari. Now, she is also constructing two concrete tanks for vermi-compost production. “The training where I met scientists like Dr Mridul Deka and Dr Manasi Chakravarty was the turning point of my life,” she said.

Her product is now readily available in many nurseries across Nalbari town and Guwahati and smaller towns like Mirza. Besides, her market has also slowly expanded to other districts like Darrang, Kamrup, Baksa, Goalpara, Chirang, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Majuli among others. Within a short period of time, Kanika Talukdar has achieved remarkable success in vermi-compost and has become a well-known woman entrepreneur in the State.

Kanika has also successfully completed two months of training in agripreneurship-orientation programme under NITI Aayog at North East Agriculture Technology Entrepreneurs Hub (NEATeHub), AAU-Incubation Centre, Jorhat in October 2019.

She was felicitated by the Rotary Club of Guwahati and recently she bagged the women entrepreneur award offered by Asom Sangrami Mancha for her contribution to the society. Her vermi-compost unit has become a site for exposure visits by farmers led by different organisations and nearby KVKs (Barpeta, Baksa, Kamrup). Now, the once poor and helpless woman has become a role model of self employment. Many unemployed women and youths of her village have also taken inspiration from her and have come forward to adopt vermi-compost production. Inspired by her work, Mahima Haloi, Champa Rabha Barman, Rumi Talukar, Anjana Haloi, Lohit Das, Bina Haloi, Biswajit Haloi, Chakrapani Talukdar and a number of other SHGs have also started vermi-compost production.

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