Onam Trade Fairs: A big win for Kudumbashree Units
Kudumbashree, the women’s community network and poverty eradication mission in Kerala, has registered record sales of Rs 12.45 crore through the Onam Trade Fairs and markets that it organized across the state last month. The trade fairs were organized by Kudumbashree units in district level Kudumbashree Bazaars, marketing outlets and kiosks at the Local Self Government Institution (LSGI) level, and through 359 supermarkets and retail outlets run by Supplyco, the state-owned company that functions under the Department of Food and Civil Supplies.
A total of 905 Onam Trade Fairs were organized at the LSGI level under the leadership of the Community Development Societies (CDSs) of Kudumbashree, in addition to 21 district-level trade fairs. The fairs, held in adherence to strict Covid-19 protocols in the state from August 16-20, provided an opportunity for microenterprises and farming Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) under the Kudumbashree Mission to register sales during the festive period. Food kits comprising of Kudumbashree products were also packed and delivered to those in need, as per orders received from 9 CDSs of Malappuram and Kollam districts.
Kudumbashree generated sales of Rs 9.64 crore through trade fairs and kit distribution. Onam markets organized at the CDS level, in which the products of farming JLGs were prioritised, also recorded sales of Rs 2.8 crore. 7.53 lakh kg of vegetables from 27,442 farming groups were made available to the general public through these markets, as per a statement released by PI Sreevidya, Executive Director of Kudumbashree. Apart from helping the Kudubashree units and members, the trade fairs and markets during festival seasons in Kerala also play a huge part in controlling the price of essential commodities and vegetables.
Kudumbashree Online Shopping Festival
Apart from trade fairs and markets, Kudumbashree had also launched ‘Onam Utsav’, an online shopping festival, through its e-commerce portal. The success of this online shopping festival, through which around 1000 products from handicrafts to sanitary napkins at discounts of up to 40% are being made available for free delivery all across the country via India Post, has made Kudumbashree extend it till September 15.
Food products, apparels, cosmetic products, masala powders, bags, umbrellas, spices, toiletries, honey, ragi, millet, cardamom, coffee, etc. from tribal microenterprise units are also available for sale through the online shopping festival. 4325 tribal women from 105 JLGs are engaged in farming in Attappady alone. Microenterprise units in Attappady had earlier bagged orders for providing banana chips and jiggery-coated chips for the Onam food kits that were distributed by the state government. Kudumbashree units had also made cloth bags for these kits.
Community network during the pandemic
Kudumbashree was set up in 1997 by the then Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the context of the devolution of powers to the Panchayat Raj Institutions in the state and the Peoples’ Plan Campaign. According to the latest budget figures, it now has a total membership of 45 lakh women across the state. Kudumbashree groups now run various services from gender help desks to poverty alleviation and skill development programmes.
The wide community network of women has played an important role in the state government’s community-led response to the pandemic. Kudumbashree-run Community Kitchens and Janakeeya Hotels (People’s Restaurants) providing free and subsidized meals to the public, along with food and grocery kits supplied by the Civil Supplies Department, were the primary means by which Kerala has managed to ensure that people in the state do not go hungry since the first nationwide lockdown was announced in March 2020.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.