Earlier in 2019, Arati learned about mushroom farming from govt experts in Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Bargarh. She was motivated and decided to start mushroom farming to fulfill her desire to promote the employment of rural women. She managed to convince her family to use their only agricultural land, earlier used for paddy farming. She procured raw materials and built farm sheds as per the guidance of mushroom farming experts from KVK, Bargarh. She also employed a group of five women in her team. Within a short period of 6 months, her team could yield 10-12 kg of mushroom every day. Convinced by the initial success, her team decided to enhance the production to 50 kg a day. They invested in building new sheds and the procurement of raw materials such as seeds and paddy straw.
However, their plan was severely shattered in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Arati tried to sustain the responsibility of her team in the beginning phase of lockdown with limited funds. Later she could not support her team due to poor business opportunities. Gradually all members left her team. This resulted in poor maintenance of raw materials and farm sheds. Stored paddy straw was damaged due to cattle and earlier purchased mushroom seeds destroyed over time. Everything wasted In these seven months, resulting in a huge financial loss to her. She only left with one thing, her courage.
Arati still has a strong desire to do it again. Now businesses are reopening due to the relaxation on covid lockdown, so she has decided to get ready for the next season of mushroom farming. She needs a fund of 4 lakh rupees to be prepared for the upcoming mushroom farming season. She will use this fund to collect ‘Ravi’ paddy straw before 15th January 2021. In case of delay in procurement, the paddy straw will be burned by farmers. She also has to repair the farm sheds and buy mushroom seeds.
Let us join hands to support Arati as our contribution to women empowerment and small enterprises that create work opportunities for other women. A small help can create a cycle of sustenance for all those dependent for a living directly and indirectly.