A Karnataka Homemaker’s Journey of Building – A Better Life for her family one egg at a time.
One of the first things she and her husband tried to increase their income was area nut peeling.
She and some other women in the village started collecting area nuts from local farmers to dehusk them.
This back-breaking work however could earn her just around Rs 100 a day, and it was only available during the harvest season.
“For many years, we did agriculture on half an acre of land and worked as daily wage laborers. But we never had any money to save and were constantly on the brink of borrowing to meet the family’s needs. That is when I thought of doing something else to supplement our income. Areca nut was the only other ‘job’ I could find in the village. But that also failed to improve our lives,” Kamala told Indiatimes.
After some more years of struggling to make ends meet, her eldest son dropping out of school due to the family’s poor financial status, Kamala decided to travel a path she had never crossed.
As a Jnana Jyothi Swasahaya Sangha, a self-help group, Kamala was eligible for a loan to start a micro-enterprise.
With the help of Manuvikasa, a local NGO, Kamala took a loan of Rs 40,000 to start her own business.
Starting poultry business
“I decided to begin a small-scale poultry farm, as I could give time to the business as well as the housework,” Kamala said.
She stated with just 75 chicks which were bought for Rs 60 each.
Unlike large poultry farms, Kamala decided to stick to indigenous chicken breeds that need more time and care to grow than broiler chickens.
Other than the country chicken raised for eggs, Kamala also has Fighter, Giriraja, Kadaknath, and other local breeds at her farm.
Becoming debt-free and improving life
Slowly the business picked up today. Kamala sells 100-150 fully-grown chickens monthly at an average price of Rs 400-500 for a bird.
She also makes some additional income selling country chicken eggs, which are in high demand in the village. “Demand for poultry is especially high during the festive season, with my customers placing orders 15 days in advance. Most of the time, youngsters who come in to buy for parties pay the highest rate for my hens,” Kamala said.
After all the expenses, including purchasing chicks, buying feed and grains, repaying the loan, and meeting other household needs, Kamala says she can save Rs. 5,000 per month.
While Rs 5,000 might not sound like a huge amount to many, for Kamala and her family, who were struggling to make ends meet, it is a massive change in their fortune.
Out of the Rs 40,000 she had availed as a loan, Kamala has been able to repay Rs 34,000 and aims to clear the rest soon.
The success that she has been able to achieve so far has made the entrepreneur in Kamala more confident.
Kamala has now set her eyes on expanding the size of her poultry farm to accommodate more chickens.
She also aims to motivate neighboring women in the village to rear chicks to satisfy her increasing customer needs.
Why women entrepreneurs should be celebrated
Naghma Mulla, CEO EdelGive Foundation which supported NGOs like Manuvikasa, lauded Kamala’s achievement and said it is important to celebrate them.
“The journey of women in establishing their enterprises is completely different from that of others. A woman entrepreneur’s success, as opposed to that of her male counterparts, is especially contingent on the support she receives from her family and spouse, financial capacity, and the information she can access, among others,” she said.
She also felt that such women-led enterprises help them become economically independent and impact the community.
“When women create breakthroughs in terms of setting up their enterprise in the first place, they effectuate positive growth outcomes for communities via employment generation, better healthcare and educational access for their children, and contribute to the GDP,” she said.