We believe that an important aspect of empowerment is in skill building and creation of opportunity. Opportunities can be created in villages and small towns through the set up of local village enterprises. Agro-processing needs medium-level entrepreneurs to mobilise themselves into producer groups. It’s difficult for small and marginal farmers to set up an agro-processing unit on their own. Mostly investors don’t want to go to small towns and remote rural areas, because of infrastructure, transport, electricity and perhaps law-and-order issues. Access to finance also is difficult. So, there is need for philanthropic investment. Given this context, promoting Producer Organisations can be an important intervention.
To improve the local economy, we need to improve rural entrepreneurs' access to the market and infrastructure support. They need access to storage, transport and, most important, their need to organise themselves into farmer-producer groups so that their can access the market collectively. Getting the right information at the right time is critical in ensuring better prices for their produce.
The focus of our interventions has been on unleashing the potential of women through enterprise. We have promoted enterprises units where women are engaging in the production of spices, pulses, pickle and apparel, crafts products and the agriculture value chain as well. We do this by setting up robust farmer-producer institutions which have capital and risk-taking ability. There is a need to channel support from the government and philanthropic organisations to make our endeavour sustainable, and reach out to a larger section of the rural poor.