CHENNAI : Two months back, a new kind of canvas bag — the vegetable compartment bag — was trending on social media. This is one of the creations of Paalaguttapalle bags, made by a group of women in Paalaguttapalle village of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh.When farming and agriculture didn’t fetch them a basic livelihood, a few women in Paalaguttapalle got together and used their tailoring and screen printing skills to sustain their families. It started a year ago with four women and currently, there are nine. They make totes, lunch bags, and bags with logos.
“When I was in Chennai, someone suggested the design to me. I passed on the idea to the women, who were already involved in crafting bags. We were flooded by orders. It is an independent initiative,” says Aparna Krishnan, a software engineer who currently lives in Paalaguttapalle village. She helps the women with selling the Paalaguttapalle bags.
Their latest vegetable compartment bag arrived in the market in June. The women do everything from sourcing the materials to stitching the bags. It takes approximately five days to make 20 bags. Cotton brought from Madurai is used to bring in the sustainable factor. The sturdy material and intricate stitching help in retaining the longevity of the bags. Each bag has six spacious compartments and is available in two sizes — the large one can hold 10 kgs and the extra large can hold 15 kg. Each pocket can accommodate one or two kg. This facility decreases the burden of carrying multiple bags for groceries and prevents vegetables from getting squashed.
The final product is neatly folded, wrapped and packed inside a bag. They delivery it through post, which generally takes a week. The bags are shipped across the globe. So far, about 2,000 bags have been sold. If the bag is maintained properly, it can sustain a lifetime. “The primary advantage is that it is environment-friendly and helps in cutting down on plastic. Secondly, it improves livelihood. Both are important issues,” says Aparna.