Generating livelihood by producing and marketing eco-friendly dinnerware
Enterpreneur Arindam Das Gupta Sector Livelihoods Geography Barpeta, Assam
The unemployment rate in NE is increasing and there is high dependence on the primary sector. Agricultural activities are also affected due to lack or excess of rainfall and with increasing literacy the rural youth is also not to keen to do traditional activities. This is leading them towards anti-social behavior. The way out is to promote micro enterprises amongst the rural youth. NE has a huge supply of natural resources which can be value added into many high demand products with use of appropriate technology.
The arecanut palm is one of the important commercial crops of NE. Though the betelnut is used widely in various forms yet the sheath attached to the leaf is considered as a waste. The disposable dinnerware made out of arecanut sheaths have better dimensional stability besides being hygienic, biodegradable and microwave safe. Due to its qualities, it has a huge market in India and internationally. There is more than 100,000 hectares of arecanut plantation in NE and more than 5000 arecanut plate micro enterprises can be promoted if only 30% of the available resources can be tapped. Each unit generates additional livelihood for around 30 people. TPMPL is a company jointly promoted by the arecanut leaf plate producers of Assam, with the objective of generating employment for more than 50,000 of rural youth. Our vision is to make it a 100 crore rural green enterprise.
Over the last 3 years TPMPL has promoted more than 100 arecanut leaf plate units and thereby generating livelihood for more than 2000 rural youth. TPMPL also employs 42 local youth in its own production and packaging facilities. Through marketing of arecanut disposable dinnerware we are also replacing 100MT of toxic styrofoam / thermocol plates (each kg of these plates generates 6kgs of CO2 emission) annually. Over the next 3 years we want reach 600 units, 12000 youth and 1000MT of plates annually. All these by utilising arecanut sheaths, which is regarded as a waste today.