The four major activities that could be articulated by rural women in Minjur, which have real potential to improve their livelihoods, are described below:
- Value addition in fish - To support fish value addition, a number of agencies with skills and expertise on technical aspects exists. But the major challenge is going to be in establishing a sustainable value chain and this would necessitate developing a project in partnership with agencies that could assist in this. Major tasks include the following:
- adapting the technology to the existing context
- addressing the quality, standards and packaging issues
- assessing the nature of demand (quantity, products, quality) at the customer end and this would essentially involve product testing and market analysis
- developing links with super markets
- developing skills among women on enterprise management- inventory control, book keeping, quality management, sales management and obtaining and using customer feedback.
Dairying - Dairying has excellent potential if availability of green fodder, milk marketing and dairy extension issues are handled simultaneously. The services of the co-operative milk dairy Aavin needs to be explored. Proximity to Chennai offers scope for marketing milk. A dairying project should also explore the possibility of bringing at least a part of the common lands (265 ha) in this area under fodder. Appropriate institutional arrangements have to be evolved to deal with this. Opportunities for growing fodder as a commercial crop also need to be explored with the crop farmers.
- Eco-tourism - The SHGs would need real professional inputs and greater capital assistance if this has to become a sustainable enterprise. It would be worth piloting this in a small scale. This initiative should start with a feasibility analysis to understand the costs and the potential.
- Backyard poultry - If this has to evolve as a commercial enterprise, the poultry has to be managed scientifically. The enterprise needs to be linked to a value chain. This facilitates obtaining the right kind of inputs and services. The state has experiences of contract growing poultry for industries such as Vencobb and Suguna. Opportunities for linking women interested in managing poultry to poultry business needs to be explored.