Promotion of sustainable livelihood opportunities for the rural communities has been a major concern of PDS. Various strategies are followed to improve the standard of living of the rural population including micro finance through Self Help Groups (SHGs), micro credit, micro insurance, skill development, entrepreneurship development and hand holding support.
PDS enables SHGs and JLGs to avail adequate, cheaper and timely credit from various financial institutions. The motivating factors behind the continuation of micro finance programme are proper utilization of funds by the borrow¬ers and its prompt repayment.
The loan amount availed by the groups is shared among the eligible mem¬bers for pursuing various income generating activities like dairy, goat rearing, group farming, or¬ganic farming of spices, vegetable cultivation, banana cultivation, vermicompost production, NTFP processing, food processing, gar¬ment making, petty shops, etc. Currently, PDS is associated with the following agencies in imple¬menting the micro-finance pro¬gramme. 1. State Bank of India 2. National Bank for Agriculture &Rural Development (NABARD) 3. Karl KubelStiftung, Germany 4. Kerala State Backward Classes Development Corporation Ltd. 5. SHGs promoted by PDS 6. Village Development Councils Different schemes are promoted by PDS, both at the village and agency level, for extending credit to the needy and eligible families.
PDS witnessed a massive move¬ment in promoting Joint Liability Groups in Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts this year. Two thousand nine-hundred sixty (2,960) marginal farmers were organized into 740 JLGs in these districts. The association with Union Bank of India enabled PDS to credit link all the 740 JLGs with different branches of UBI. As a re¬sult the farmers received Rs.14.80 crores from the bank for undertak¬ing different income generation programmes, both in the farm and the non- farm sector. The pro¬gramme enabled the farmers to get hassle free credit from banks at affordable rate of interest.
Potential entrepreneurs are iden¬tified and equipped to set up en¬terprises through Entrepreneur¬ship Development Programme (EDP) and Skill Development Programmes. SHGs and JLGs are provided with entrepreneurship awareness before disbursement of micro credit. Business counselling and technical support are provided to rural entrepreneurs in different areas like business op¬portunity identification, product development, preparing a busi¬ness plan, availing new technolo¬gies, branding, labelling and mar¬keting. The enterprises set up by the SHGs are varied in nature. In includes Consumer stores, Candle making, Dairy farm, Petty shops, Bakery products, Ayurvedic tooth powder, Book binding, Umbrella making, Tapioca cultivation, Vegetable cultivation, Soap making, Home remedies, Curry powder, Rabbit rearing, Vermicomposting, Goat rearing, Poultry, Piggery, Agriculture, nursery, Pappad making, etc.
PDS facilitates the tribal farmers and their SHGs in sustainable col¬lection and value addition of dif¬ferent NTFPs. Different products like grass brooms and vetiver boxes are also made by the tribal women using grass/ vettiver col¬lected from the forest. PDS has also promoted collection and pro¬cessing of garcinia, wild cardamom and wild honey and the market¬ing of these products. A centre is functioning in Kannampady tribal colony as the collection point; as well as handling marketing to the outside.
A new building has been construct¬ed on the premise of the PDS Or¬ganic Spices to provide facilities for women groups engaged in the making of baskets using vetiver leaves.
Gramasilpa is the marketing outlet promoted by PDS and supported by Kerala State Handloom Devel¬opment Corporation. It is located in Kumily and deals with various handicraft products of rural arti¬sans.
The unit manufactured and sup¬plied various furniture products to the tune of Rs. 32.17 lakhs this fiscal year. The unit specializes in manufacturing high quality furni¬ture and equipments required for Ayurvedic treatment centres. Ten carpenters are employed in the unit.
This is a fully automated laundry unit located in Kumily which is be¬ing managed exclusively by wom¬en.
Eco Shop is the marketing outlet of Peermade Development Society dealing specifically with organic and rural products.
Supported by NABARD, this mart markets products of rural artisans, SHGs and Kudumbashree units. It is located in Kattapana.