Every member in the group could earn Rs 750–900 a month net, excluding labour costs. This has changed their lives, and now they support their families. From 2009 to 2014, this group has sold 42 tonnes of vermicompost and 225 tonnes of earthworms.

Like the vermicompost unit, there is a self-help group that produces biopesticides. Azhagu Nila, along with four women, makes neem oil soaps, and earns Rs 500 to Rs 750 net per month (excluding labour charges). There are other women self-help groups which make value-added products from traditional rice, such as rice flour, rice flakes, etc., creating more livelihood opportunities. Also, these women entrepreneurs display their products at a women’s festival every year.

Economically sound, socially inclusive

Rats are a huge problem for farmers in this region. Instead of promoting rodenticides, the Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems roped in the Irula tribe, who are traditional rat catchers.