Dehradun, January 15
Two Uttarakhand-based micro enterprises, Kumaon Earth Craft Self-Reliant Cooperative (KEC) and Devbhumi Natural Products Producers Company Limited (DNPPCL), have been awarded for their contribution to society at the Citi Micro Enterprise Awards (CMEA) ceremony in New Delhi on January 12.
While KEC bagged the Award for the Innovative Community Micro Enterprise, DNPPCL was named as the Best Rural Community Micro Enterprise.
United States Ambassador to India Nancy J. Powell together with CEO of Citi India Paramit Jhaveri and Governing Council members of the awards programme presented the awards to the enterprises.
Currently in its ninth year, the CMEA has focused on enterprises that are owned and managed by local communities, whether they are producer companies, cooperatives or self-help groups.
Additionally, the awards programme has also recognized promoters who have nurtured these community enterprises or who are supporting livelihood initiatives for the benefit of poor communities at large.
KEC and DNPPCL were both chosen from among several deserving entries due to their individual inspiring stories. Founded in 2005, KEC is a cooperative with a mission of creating livelihoods for socially and economically disadvantaged families, especially vulnerable women whose husbands have migrated and those with physical disabilities.
KEC produces and markets high quality, naturally dyed silk and wool textiles as well as natural dye extracts and pigments along with natural paints and crayons, which are sold in the domestic and international markets.
All raw material used by the enterprise is collected or grown locally, thereby benefiting the local small farmers. About 500 farmers, material collectors, dyers, spinners, weavers, knitters, tailors, pashmina sorters, finishing artisans, weaving support artisans and other stakeholders are involved in this process.
The main reason for KEC to win the awards is that it has used innovative means to be eco-friendly and energy-efficient in its production. It won the Innovative Community Enterprise Award for not only doing good for the community, but also the environment.
Rashmi Bharti, founder of KEC, said, "We are extremely happy that our innovations and efforts towards creating livelihoods for socially and economically disadvantaged families are recognized at such a prestigious platform. Currently, we have 500 beneficiaries, 95 per cent of whom are women. We aim to significantly increase this number and help the rural youth, especially young girls and socially vulnerable women, become self-reliant."
DNPPCL is a five-year old set-up which started as a processing and marketing enterprise for honey and organic spices. The company now sources honey, rajma, spices and oak tasar among a host of other locally produced goods from more than 4,000 rural women, spinners and weavers spread across the remote villages of Garhwal. It markets these organic products in the local market and also through big brand outlets. Besides providing economic value to sustainable farming and gathering, DNPPCL has also helped an economy that is largely dependent on migration, to increase the value of its land.
Shailesh Panwar, general manager, DNPPCL said, "We are proud and thankful to the CMEA for this recognition. We will continue to work towards our social mission of mobilising women and providing them capacity building to be able to undertake livelihoods in bee-keeping, growing spices, rearing tasar cocoons or weaving silk. We hope that our efforts will lend economic value to sustainable farming and gathering, thereby helping the local economy."
The number of women within the fold of DNPPCL has grown from 410 to 4,100 in three years and the enterprise aims to reach 10,000 primary producers by 2017 and achieve a turnover of Rs 3 crore by 2015.

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