Boosting the Rural Economy | Parab Festival

Boosting the Rural Economy | Parab Festival

The visitors at the silver jubilee celebration of Parab festival were impressed with our stall— dried vegetables, grafted brinjal prepared by our women farmers, and the native seed varieties from our seed bank. We had both the older and the younger crowd flock our stalls, the younger generation was especially taken aback to see vegetables like lablab (hyacinth bean), which are on the verge of extinction.

Parab is a state level festival held in Koraput. Organised by the district administration, the festival sees a footfall of over a hundred thousand people. The festival attracts representatives from every government agency, development organisations, and every major player in the market. Many producer groups and farmer producer organisations are given stalls to showcase their wares. Parab not only plays a major role in bolstering the rural business sector, it also gives access to people living in far-flung rural areas information on cutting-edge innovations in all fields.

The COVID-19 pandemic had forced the postponement of Parab's silver jubilee celebration. 

Oxfam India has always participated in Parab as this gives a great opportunity to showcase our initiatives. This has also helped our women farmers and our team to interact with others and learn more about other research and developments. Our stall was also visited by Pitam Padhi, MLA from Pottangi. 

We had a large number of farmers, women self help groups, and officials from NABARD, Agriculture and Horticulture department and KVK visit our stall. There were a large number of students who wanted to know more about our work. 

This year Parab was celebrated between 17 and 21 December. During the festival, we put up a miniature of our model of low-cost, climate-smart multi-layer farming aligned with Koraput's native strip-cultivation style. A lot of farmers who visited the stall requested our assistance to replicate similar models in their village as well. 

We were able to display the organic and improved agronomic practices of our women farmers. We also put on display native vegetable seeds, including ginger, turmeric, and millet, from our seed bank, along with organic manures and pesticides, and grafted brinjal (which was appreciated a lot). City dwellers were very keen on buying native seeds for their kitchen gardens. Seedlings, particularly papaya and drumstick, were in high demand. In fact, they took down details of our FPO members so that they can contact them directly in future. This is certainly a ray of hope for making our seed bank financially viable.

Among the vegetables, the Bhu Krishna purple sweet potato variety was the most popular. There was value added food products such as ginger paste, dry ginger and its powder, sweet potato and potato snacks. This was done to gauge the demand for value added food products and we received a very positive response. 

Our sweet potato chips flew off the shelf and we went home a happy lot!

Farmers’ Convention and Knowledge Dissemination Fair

A Farmers' Convention and Knowledge Dissemination Fair was organised at the District Skill Development Centre on 19 December 2022. We participated in the Convention to promote the successful women entrepreneurs to share their insights, establish collaborative efforts to make agriculture viable, and exchange information from various departments and organisations. 

The event drew approximately 200 farmers from eight agricultural clusters. One of our sessions was chaired by our FPO chairpersons from Semiliguda and Pottangi, as well as two leading women entrepreneurs from the DRDA (District Rural Development Agency). About 30 participants shared their experiences. That gives members who own the FPO and require assistance a ray of hope.

The entrepreneurs shared their experiences and encouraged the participants to become agricultural entrepreneurs in order to be self-sufficient and provide opportunities to members and fellow villagers. The DRDA members exchanged information about all government programmes that were available to them. They also promised to provide proactive support whenever it was required.

The participants' energy and enthusiasm have been rejuvenated by the occasion. The team will now focus on maximising the good will generated to further fortify institutions and step up interventions.

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Women Livelihood

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