JEYPORE: The locally-produced hill brooms by tribals of Kotia panchayat in Koraput’s Pottangi will soon be available at the click of a mouse. E-commerce giant Amazon is all set to market the brooms, made from hill grass and produced aplenty by local tribals of the disputed panchayat.
Kotia is a bone of contention between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and local villagers have been caught in the border dispute since long. Amazon has reportedly signed an agreement with Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) for selling the brooms on its platform.
Officer of ORMAS, Koraput chapter Rashan Kartik informed that the proposal document of the district administration for sale of Kotia hill broom has been accepted by Amazon. The product will be available online soon.
Sources said earlier, residents of Kotia villages used to collect over tonnes of grass from the hilly terrains and sell the brooms in local Kunduli market in Koraput or Salur haat in neighbouring Vizianagaram district of AP. Due to lack of marketing facilities and processing units, the tribals were forced to sell the brooms at only Rs 25 per piece to local traders who later sold it at Rs 100 outside the district.
In 2018, the Koraput administration set up a hill broom producer group in Kotia. Officials of the district rural development agency (DRDA) and Pottangi block trained tribal women on hill broom processing. The ORMAS also provided around Rs 2 lakh to the producer group for institution building and equipment cost.
The women learnt to process the hill grass into brooms by using steel, nickel and plastic pipes. Now, each hill broom fetches `55 to tribal women. Most of the hill brooms are being procured by Koraput Agro Products Producer Company Ltd (KAPPCO) of the ORMAS. Around 65 producer groups are processing and supplying the brooms to the agency.
Recently, Koraput Collector Md Abdaal Akhtar had directed the DRDA to build multipurpose building for the producer groups to process the hill brooms and accordingly, Rs 15 lakh was allotted for the purpose.
The prospect of getting more money for their brooms has come as an encouragement for the tribal women.
“Now, our brooms will be recognised in both national and international markets once Amazon starts to sell it. We hope to get at least `80-`90 for each broom,” said Padma, a hill broom producer of Kotia. Odisha Livelihood Mission Manager of Koraput Susmita Samanara said, marketing of hill brooms by Amazon will fetch more price to the producers and subsequently, boost income of the tribal women of Kotia.