Gangga IVCS Ltd. Improving Livelihoods in Siju, South Garo Hills

The village community of Siju in the South Garo Hills District faced numerous challenges in sustaining their livelihoods. It primarily relied on fishing and agriculture but struggled to cope with market developments and inflation due to poor price realization and limited marketing opportunities. Individual farmers operated independently, leading to unequal sales distribution and substantial waste. With the local village market serving as the only selling platform, profits were limited. In addition, the inability to trade with neighbouring villages due to high transportation costs was a major obstacle, hindering their prospects of tapping into more profitable markets. Small-scale farmers encountered difficulties selling their fruits and vegetables, with some experiencing surplus and others struggling to sell at all.

To compound these challenges, the community faced issues related to credit access due to the absence of banks and financial institutions in the area. They were unable to save money and obtain loans, making it impossible to undertake higher activities to supplement their livelihoods. The need for a transformative solution was evident to elevate the economic prospects of the community.

Since its establishment, the Gangga IVCS Ltd. has significantly alleviated these challenges.

In December 2019, the IVCS was formed and registered with 15 member shareholders. In the following years, the members engaged in community mobilization to strengthen membership while the project provided continuous support in the form of training, capacity building, exposure, and knowledge services. Today, the IVCS has grown to 600 members and boasts substantial savings of over Rs. 74 lakhs. It has also provided regular loans to the community with feasible repayment plans.

While the IVCS was performing well, the true turning point in the community’s fortunes came with the inception of the Collective Marketing Centre (CMC) and a cold storage facility. Seizing the opportunity, the IVCS initiated the aggregation and processing of local produce in the CMC, which allowed its farmers to explore improved marketing methods. In 2022, headlines were made when, with minimal project support, the IVCS ventured into the global market by successfully exporting one metric ton of their Khasi mandarin to Abu Dhabi, which was displayed at the world-renowned Lulu Mall. Nationally, one metric ton was also sent to markets in Kolkata.

The Gangga IVCS Ltd. showcases the high potential of the IVCS as a village-level model for collective benefits and enhanced services when backed by proper support and community participation. It intends to invest its profits in making the services of the IVCS even more comprehensive.

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