Sabala is a voluntary organization working for women empowerment and natural resource management since 2000. It has been working in Kothavalasa, Lkota, and Vepada mandals of Vizianagaram district in Andhra Pradesh, for enhancing the production of millets and for ensuring food security. The efforts of Sabala has yielded good results, and the area under cultivation of millets in these three mandals of the district has increased considerably. Further, these initiatives also helped in creating awareness of the need for the promotion of millets in a big way amongst farmers..

To build the capacities of these farmers, Sabala has formed 35 millet farmer clubs with the support of NABARD and is striving to improve the production and productivity with the support from agriculture Research Station, Vizianagaram.

However, in the absence of marketing linkages and proper processing of millets produced by these farmers, the price realized by them was very low and has been demotivating in enhancing the production of millets. Keeping this in view, Sabala has promoted Arogya Millets Producer Company Limited during 2014-15 by federating the 35 farmer club members into FPO, and the promotion and strengthening of FPO are in progress.

The FPO has been registered under the Companies Act and 1200 farmers have enrolled themselves as members of the FPO. The FPO has been playing an important role as an aggregator of millets, primary processor, and markets the products under the brand name “Arogya Millets”.

Impact on income

The continuous efforts of Sabala have resulted in these villages becoming the millet hubs. Once the production improved, Sabala worked for increasing house level consumption. After that, there was a need for a market of surplus grain. So, Arogya FPO procured the surplus grain from millet farmers.

In the first year, the Arogya FPO procured around 5 tons of Foxtail millet and 10 tons of Finger millet. Sabala marketed the grain. In the second year, with the support of NABARD and Sabala, Arogya FPO associated SHG women for the value addition of millets. After that, with the great support of the District Collector, they got an opportunity to supply Ragi biscuits and Ragi flour to Tribal welfare hostel children to address malnutrition. For that, they procured around 100 tons of Ragi from their farmers.

Before the formation of the FPO, the millet farmers had no market in the districts. Only a few traders would come and decide the price. Now the situation has changed significantly. After the discussion between the Procurement Committee and the farmers regarding the availability and pricing of grains, it was mutually decided that the Procurement Committee will procure their entire produce. This decision has made all the millet farmers quite happy about their FPO and its various activities.

The Arogya FPO has also established a rural mart outlet for the marketing of millet products at Kothavalasa. The area of its operation includes 28 villages in Kothavalasa and Lkota Mandal. This outlet is marketing various millet value-added products such as Millet Biscuits, Foxtail millet rice, Foxtail millet dosa mix, Ragi flour, Ragi dosa mix, Jowar flour, Jowar Rava, Foxtail millet instant khichdi mix, Sajja rice, Sama rice, Multi millet atta, Barnyard millet rice, Browntop millet rice, Horsegram powder, Horsegram, etc to the public. Through its continuous effort, this organisation has achieved a turnover of about INR 57 Lakh in the financial year 2019-2020.

Launching of the Arogya Millets Producer company Ltd

Inauguration of Arogya FPO Logo

(Content provided by Sabala)