‘Pangi Hills’, NABARD’s rural mart

Women of self-help groups are playing key role by managing and running the mart and encouraging economic independence

Balkrishan Prashar

For the empowerment of tribal women, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has established a rural mart under the brand name of ‘Pangi Hills’ at Tadoli on the Chamba-Pathankot National Highway, which is strengthening the livelihood of the marginal community. 

Collective Efforts for Voluntary Action (CEVA) with convergence of the rural mart is strengthening the livelihood of marginal community. The women of self-help groups (SHGs) are playing a key role in this venture by successfully managing and running the mart thereby bringing a sense of economic independence among them. 

“Established in January last year, the rural mart is being run by Laxmi SHG from Pangi block with the handholding support of CEVA,” says NABARD’s district development manager (DDM) Ravi Dass. As many as 1,000 tribal women from Pangi and Bharmour tribal blocks have joined the mart; besides a number of farmers of the district are also coming forward. 

Nain Dei, from Pangi tribal area who works at the rural mart now, said: “The initiative has proved a boon for unprivileged tribal women like us, who used to otherwise confine to their home sonly. But now, we have an opportunity to make our products and market these at the mart, which fetches good returns.”

“Set up for the first time to market the products of Himalayan region, the mart is providing a platform for locally available indigenous valuable products and manufactured items and adding economic value to goods and services contributed by the unprivileged tribal community,” said Nain Dei, Kamla, Rajni, Babli and Amar Dei of Pangi tribal area working with rural mart. 

Women are engaged in all activities such as weaving handloom and handicraft, gathering, sorting, grading and packaging of all items and in the management of the mart. Apart from empowering tribal women, marginal farmers of the region are also being strengthened through this venture. 

The mart promotes an exquisite variety of unadulterated organic produce from organic farms, genuine home-made articles such as ghee, snacks, sattu, traditional handlooms, handicrafts, indigenous forest-based products such as honey, dry fruits, morels and Himalayan herbs which are curative in nature. 

The products which were earlier only confined to the region are now getting acknowledged and appreciated by urban masses and are in great demand. 

The rural mart has played a significant role in facilitating the ways of sustainable livelihood and in the economic empowerment of tribal women through strong entrepreneurship, which led to the development of the community as a whole.

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