Usha Kanwar is a resident of Jeewda village, Bali, Rajasthan. She lived with her husband and five children. Her husband used to serve as the priest in a temple. Usha had three buffaloes and invested 4-5 hours daily in caring for the buffaloes. She used to sell the milk to a private vendor, for which she was paid a very low price. The income hardly sufficed for household needs and her children’s education. She depended on credit and working as a daily wage labourer to meet her family’s requirements.
In November 2016, after the membership mobilisation drive in Bali by the Tata Trusts’ Centre for microfinance (CmF) team, she joined the women-led Asha Mahila Milk Producer Company (MMPC) under the initiative of ‘Tata Dairy Mission’. Asha MMPC was supported by the DHANII (Dairy Health and Nutrition Initiative India Foundation) company, a not-for-profit company promoted by the Tata Trusts. The intent behind DHANII and the Tata Dairy Mission is to help small and marginalised milk producers earn more by enhancing their knowledge about milk production, breeding, and animal health and nutrition.
Dreams materialise, one by one
After being associated with the dairy initiative, Usha’s life took a turn for the better. She sold 17,739 litres of milk, approximately worth Rs700,000, to Asha MMPC. The payment for the milk sold is directly credited to her bank account, regularly. Usha planned to buy more buffaloes to ensure round-the-year income for her family. Unfortunately, she lost her husband in February 2020, and now she is the sole bread earner of the family.
From the income she got from selling milk to Asha MMPC, she decided to purchase more cattle. And on the advice of the Asha MMPC team, she also decided to get her cattle and buffaloes insured for security. She got insurance from SBI General insurance with the help of Dr Sandip Bana, a veterinary executive.
And as luck might have it, one of her buffaloes died in March 2021. The Asha team supported her to initiate the process for an insurance claim. After an investigation by the insurance company, her claim was approved and she received Rs40,000 as claim settlement.
She has been able to repay her debt with the money. Now she is able to pay her children’s fees regularly so that they continue their education and is also able to shoulder the expenses of her younger daughter’s marriage.
Additionally, she also avails other services provided by Asha and received various benefits as a member, including affordable animal feed, mineral mixture and veterinary care services through animal health camps. She has motivated other farmers with her success and linked five members with Asha.
Usha Kanwar dreams of sending her children to big schools and wants to educate them to become teachers. She also wants to buy one more buffalo to enhance her income level. She feels indebted to Asha MMPC for her financial independence, and says, “I have been able to stand on my feet because Asha MMPC gave me an opportunity and platform.”
The women-led producer company is making a huge difference in the lives of the farmers of Bali block of Pali district.