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Community Enterprise In India
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Community Enterprise In India
The Gram Mooligai Company Limited in India is owned entirely by rural villagers who gather and cultivate medicinal plants. Their work promotes sustainable harvesting and ensures community benefits.
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Produced by UN in Action.

Find out more about community-based commerce in India.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
In rural communities in India, gathering medicinal plants is a common way of making a living for village women who have no land or cattle. They worry about their future. But Kathammal is not worried. Six years ago, she invested USD$1 and bought 50 shares in a local company. Her investment has paid off.
KATHAMMAL
In the first year, they gave us 1,000 shares. I'm hoping that the company will do well and I'll make more money.
VOICEOVER
Founded in 2001, the Gram Mooligai Company Limited, or GMCL, procures medicinal plants from dozens of villages in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Most of the goods go to Bangalore to big manufactures such as Himalaya Herbal Healthcare, one of India's leading companies in this field. R. Manjunatha is a representative of the company.
R. MANJUNATHA
We prefer buying herbs from GMCL because of the quality of the herbs they supply us. Secondly, they have a sustainable harvest, and thirdly, for the rural empowerment of women.
VOICEOVER
India has over 6,000 species of medicinal plants known to local communities. Gram Mooligai Company Limited was created as part of an effort to conserve these plants by promoting sustainable harvesting and ensuring community benefits. Villagers like Kathammal have learned to avoid picking young plants, and have come to understand the standard of quality required by the market.
KATHAMMAL
Our customers want us to separate the roots, remove the sand and stones. We sift through them to make sure that all of it is clean.
VOICEOVER
Kathammal is one of the 800 stockholders of GMCL. This village enterprise, entirely owned by gatherers and cultivators, is an initiative conceived by the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions and is supported by the United Nations Development Program. The company offers villagers a guaranteed price and comes directly to them to pick up their goods, a great convenience that saves the villagers from exploitations by market agents. The company wants to do more, says one of the directors, Adichi.
ADICHI
We want to provide good quality medicinal plants and medicines to the world. This is our dream.
VOICEOVER
The villagers have hired G. Raju, who is based in Bangalore, to manage their business.
G. RAJU
We find that there is very little money in it. So we ventured into products.
VOICEOVER
The company now produces seven kinds of medicine.
G. RAJU
Our medicines are for cold and cough, for fever, for joint pains, which seem to be the set of health conditions that are affecting the poor.
VOICEOVER
The company sold about USD$200,000 worth of herbal medicine last year, and hopes to sell half a million dollars worth this year. The medicinal products, ranging in price from less than five cents to a little over two dollars, are available in over 300 stores in Bangalore. Profits benefit villagers like Kathammal directly.
KATHAMMAL
I have no worries about money or food today. If something bad happens, I can go to the company and get my money.
VOICEOVER
This community-based enterprise has improved the lives of the villagers. Perhaps more importantly, they now have a sense of ownership and financial security with which to face the future. Patricia Chan prepared this report for the United Nations.