Spawning A Success Story In Parsauni Village

Spawning A Success Story In Parsauni Village

In Parsauni village, located in Bihar's Sitamarhi district, women were struggling to maintain a stable livelihood due to limited access to education and employment opportunities. These women (and the families) were mostly landless and their husbands worked as drivers or seasonal migrant workers. Of the 15 women, about whom this story is, 54% had primary education and could sign their names while 46% were illiterate and used thumb impressions.

To provide an alternative source of income, Project Utthan supported the formation of the 'Jeevan Jyoti Mushroom Utpadak Samuh’ to this group of 15 women belonging to the most marginalised communities. The group, as the name suggests, ventured into mushroom cultivation, which has proven to be a sustainable source of income.The decision to set up the Samuh was taken after several rounds of discussions and meetings with the Village Development Committee (VDC) and the community members. The economic conditions of the women, the potential of mushroom cultivation in the village and its uptake among the women were the key factors taken into account in making a final decision. Once the members were identified, the Jeevan Jyoti Mushroom Utpadak Samuh was formed in 2022.

The Samuh comprises 15 women entrepreneurs; Pramila Devi as its president, Krishna Devi as the secretary, and Salita Devi as the treasurer. The project provided intensive training to the women on mushroom production, kit preparation, cultivation, harvesting, grading, packaging, marketing, and value addition. The group was given 1000 input kits—spawn, wheat straw and polybag—to start the production. Three members offered space for mushroom cultivation.

Once the production started, the group faced some teething issues with regards to maintaining the correct temperature and moisture for the mushroom. But they persevered and have now successfully harvested 200 kg of oyster mushrooms. The group has been able to sell their produce at Rs 100 per kg. The women never miss an opportunity to promote mushrooms at all social platforms—marriage functions, fairs, VDC, panchayat meetings, and even schools.

Inspired by their profits, women now plan to expand their mushroom cultivation to different seasonal varieties. They will share a small portion of the profits among themselves. The rest of the profits from their current crop sales will be reinvested to expand their business. With one production cycle expected to yield 2500 kg of mushrooms - the women of Jeevan Jyoti Mushroom Utpadak Samuh are on a promising path to achieving sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families.

Oxfam India-HDFC Bank’s HRDP initiative ‘Project Utthan’ contributes towards the socio-economic empowerment of people from marginalised communities by aiding them with sustainable livelihood options and improving access to essential services (especially women) across 15 villages in two blocks in Sitamarhi.

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