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Though it is tough to sustain a business without proper market linkages, women in some villages of Bengal have proved one can succeed in earning a livelihood through self help groups. And not just that, they have developed a sustainable business model too. Mamata Nadu holds out promise for rural women who have limited exposure but are willing to convert opportunity to profit. She has started rearing turkeys.  

Like all other villages in Bonhooghly of West Bengal, the main employment of people of Balarampur village was agriculture. Married for more than 25 years, Mamata was also a typical homemaker, till she decided to do something new. Nadu and other women of Balarampur and its adjoining villages of Nona and Joykrishnapur decided to save Rs 50 per month and build self help groups to start off business on a small scale. In the beginning they started off with sewing, vegetable growing and fish cultivation as animal husbandry needed special expertise. But the women decide to overcome this hurdle and they visited the Krishi Vikas Kendra to learn the scientific techniques of turkey rearing which happens to be a very profitable business. Today the women are not just rearing these exotic birds and selling their meat, they have also innovated the use of azolla, an aquatic fern rich in proteins vitamins and minerals on which the turkeys can feed. In this way they have also reduced the cost of rearing. 

Salute to these rural entrepreneurs.