The innovative products are given below:
“Sunita Ghogre, founder and president of the Bhariavnath Shetkari Mahila Bachat Gat at Daundaj, Dist. Pune has started a vegetable dehydration business. Her innovative products have received an enthusiastic response from her customers. She has also generated employment for women through this business.”-Sandeep Navale
“Mrs. Ghogre says that capital for the business has to be raised from savings. To sell a product on the market, it’s every man (and woman) for himself (or herself). Power shortage also leads to losses. In the future, she will focus on bringing women together to establish a separate market for vegetables. She will also be providing the necessary training to women for vegetable processing. Jayashri Indalkar and Asha Bayyas have already received training from her.”
They are available in packs of various sizes, such as 10 grams, 100 grams and 500 grams.
|Amla candy, strawberry mango vermicelli, wheat vermicelli||Dried slices or powders of leafy spinach, fenugreek, dill, cluster beans, okra, bitter gourd etc.||Some products are also modified with spices (e.g., dry masala bhendi)||Nessberry dry chips|
|Processing of the vegetable yield from about 20 gunthas of farm land. Yearly turnover of about Rs. 2 lakh to 2.50 lakh||Cultivation is planned through discussion||In addition to vegetables from her own 20 gunthas, additional vegetables are procured from other member women in the savings group||Amlas powder, basil powder|
|Bottle gourd powder||Dry halwa of bottle gourd and carrot||Onion slices (dry) and powder||Total turnover from the business is about Rs. 4 lakh to 4.50 lakh|
The village of Daundaj (Tal Purandar, Dist. Pune), situated in a hilly area, receives scanty rainfall every year. This leads to a drought-like situation every 2-3 years. Only meagre employment is available, and so a lot of farmers flock to the city. The village population is about two thousand to two thousand five hundred. The major season is Kharip. Crops include Bengal gram, sorghum, millet, leafy vegetables, and grass for livestock, among others.
She led the way after understanding the needs of the village
The Bhairavnath Shetkari Mahila Bachat Gat took steps to ensure that the village’s money remains in the village itself. Today, this has led to the creation of employment opportunities for women.
Most of the credit for this lies with Sunita Ghogre. She understood the needs of the village, and started her business after buying sewing machines, vermicelli machines, etc. Slowly, she started other small businesses such as manufacturing incense sticks, papads, sandge, etc. Most of the sales were in Jejuri and Hadapsar (Pune), but she felt that women should participate more in such businesses, and through this, she came up with the idea of forming the savings group in 1998.
The savings group is formed
It took Mrs. Ghogre two years to bring the village women together. She discussed with them and formed the Bhairavnath Shetkari Mahila Bachat Gat in 2001, with 20 women as members. For this, she received guidance from the circle officer of the agriculture department Chandrakant Masalkar and Taluka agriculture officer D. K. Dighe. She was elected as the president, while Jayashri Indalkar was elected as the secretary of the group. In the beginning, some of the member women had outstanding loans to be paid to moneylenders. They were provided assistance to repay the loans. The remaining women got loans and started businesses such as goat farming, sewing, and milk businesses after buying cows. However, some of them left the group on some technical grounds. Undeterred, Mrs. Ghogre brought in new female members and provided them assistance.
The Processing industry is started
In addition to her other small businesses, Mrs. Ghogre considered going into the processing industry. She faced the usual dilemmas: what business to start, the usual problems, and of course, the problem of capital. Dr. Sumanta Pande of the district rural development system sent her to an organisation in Hyderabad to receive a month-long training in fruit and vegetable processing. After coming back, she studied the risks, benefits and problems in this business and decided to start it.
A variety of vegetables grown in the farm
Mrs. Ghogre worked on the concept of dehydrating a variety of vegetables and marketing them. She owns about ten acres of farm land. Out of this, she decided to use about 20 gunthas to produce vegetables for processing. Accordingly, bottle gourd, basil (Tulshi), onion, fenugreek, amla etc. are grown in five gunthas each. The equipment needed for dehydration was bought from Ahmednagar. On a smaller scale, vegetables such as chilli, spinach, dill, coriander, cluster beans, bitter gourd, carrots are also grown as needed. Taking into account the demand for processed vegetables, mint, curry leaves, lemon grass (gavti chaha) were also processed.
The vegetable processing method
After harvesting the vegetables from the farm, they are cleaned, screened, and then graded. For example, for okra and bitter gourd, they are sliced thin, cleaned in lukewarm water, and dehydrated completely using the drying machine. Then, the product is taken out of the dryer and packed. The village women pitch in and help at this stage. This has generated employment for the women.
Selling the products
Many consumers have bought Mrs. Ghogre’s products such as dry bhendi, masala bhendi, nessberry (chikoo) chips, spinach powder etc, and sent them to their children living in foreign countries. In this way, these products have travelled beyond the borders of India.
“Even before forming the savings group, Mrs. Ghogre was already processing soybean dal, making cottage cheese from milk, buttermilk, vermicelli etc, and selling these products at Jejuri and Hadapsar. Hence, a market was already available for processed vegetable products. New markets were also tapped successfully, such as various food fairs like Bhimthadi Jatra, grain festivals, Pawanathadi Jatra, Mahalakshmi Saras, Dakhkhan Yatra, Eshanya Mall etc.”-Sunita Mohan Ghogre – 9960709469