Gram Laxmi Vermicomposting Initiative: converting rural waste into organic matter

By employing rural women in recycling units for converting animal waste into organic matter, the Gram Laxmi initiative of Government of Gujarat presents an indigenous approach for empowering women and positively altering agricultural practices.

Source: OneWorld Foundation India

In 2011, the Gram Laxmi initiative was started as a pilot in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), to convert agricultural and animal waste into organic manure. Gram Laxmi runs under Mission Mangalam- a Government of Gujarat (GOG) livelihood and poverty alleviation programme. Under the project, Gram Laxmi vermicomposting units are set up in villages and Self Help Groups of women are trained to run and manage these units. The vermicompost made at these units is sold to farmers at nominal rates and also used for personal consumption on the women’s farms.

The cost of setting up a Gram Laxmi unit is financed through convergence of different centrally sponsored rural development schemes like the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), MGNREGA, National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), Swaranjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF), Nirmal Gram etc. and through a one-time public contribution.

From a pilot project across 25 villages in 2011, the Gram Laxmi initiative today has been up scaled to 96 villages of Sabarkantha district. Gram Laxmi successfully demonstrated the potential that rural areas have for developing indigenous and sustainable livelihood options. The use of localised and easily available raw materials, the pooling together of funds from well-established national and state level schemes and the leveraging of existing network of local human resources (SHG women) involved in government functioning makes Gram Laxmi a sustainable initiative.

This case study was published in September 2012.

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