1. Success Story

This Woman Entrepreneur from Karnataka Earns Rs 50,000 per Month By Selling Organic Farm Products

Saroja Patil, a Karnataka native, founded Tadhvanam to sell organic farm products and earn Rs 50,000 per month. She currently assists farmers in making the transition to organic farming while also advocating a healthy lifestyle.

Chintu Das
Saroja Patil
Saroja Patil

The Indian government emphasized the adoption of chemical-free, natural agricultural practices for farmers in its latest annual budget and committed policy in this direction. Saroja Patil, from the village of Nitturu in the Harihar region of Karnataka, has been doing so for more than two decades.

She is the village's first female entrepreneur who has pioneered organic items. Moreover, the 63-year-old contributed to the empowerment of hundreds of women in Karnataka.

She claims to be a native of Arablache in the Bhadravati taluk. "I am the second of three daughters, and I never went past Class 10 in school."

After marrying Nagendrappa in 1979, she relocated to Nittur village. Her husband's family formerly possessed 25 acres of farmland, but the family finally split up, and her husband was left with a smaller chunk of land.

Nagendrappa joined a coir plant in the village to supplement his income and help support his family.

"By converting coconut trash into coir, the factory produced mattresses, ropes, and other items." So I decided to start a business and set up a tiny unit at home," she explains.

Saroja set up the unit to create coir mats, brushes, and other goods with the help of a family loan and her own funds. She also bought cows to start a small dairy farm a few months later.

"The items were in high demand on the market, and the firm was off to a good start." However, poor infrastructure and inconsistent power supply prevented me from making the anticipated earnings. "Eventually, the activities had to be shut down since the company was losing money," Saroja recalls.

Saroja then considered transitioning to marketing organic foods and products. "I've always been intrigued by the idea of cooking with millets and other traditional grains. My husband planted organic veggies as well as grains such as jowar, ragi, paddy, and millets. So, utilizing our farm fresh harvest, I decided to market the chemical-free vegetables and traditional recipes," she explains.

Saroja established her business on the side. However, many farmers approached her only once her products were recognized and valued higher in the market. "I began training women and men alike how to properly use existing agricultural resources for organic pest management, therefore improving soil quality and productivity," she continues.

Agriculture department authorities saw her efforts and asked her to promote organic farming. She then joined the officials who were advising farmers in 20 villages around Harihar and other areas of the state. "I not only improved as a teacher, but I also acquired new crop-growing techniques from other farmers," she says, adding, "The knowledge and revenue from agriculture helped me improve my family's financial situation."

Saroja then felt compelled to expand her business and spread the word about the benefits of organic food to a wider audience.

Tadhvanam Is The First Step

She registered her firm under the Tadhvanam name in 2014, selling a variety of products including her famed banana flour, ragi, rice, jowar, and pearl millets papad. Other unusual goods were rice-wheat vermicelli, ragi, and other stuff.

She also sells Rava idli mix, Navane Bisi bele bath mix, and Ragi maldi, a ragi powder mix with spices, jaggery, and indigenous herbs. She also offers chutneys in a variety of flavors.

Saroja claims that an organic food producer named Eshwar Theerta showed her how to package and promote the items. "Saroja has moved well beyond where I trained her, and I am pleased of her achievements," says Eshwar.

The determined entrepreneur has shown her organic items in places such as Mumbai, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Chennai, and Karnataka. "I gained greater faith in my products when ISKCON approached me to make an order for rice papad that met their specifications. "I was proud of myself for delivering and customizing things for consumers," she adds.

Her banana flour, too, was a success right away. “The product is manufactured by drying bananas and then turning them into a powder. It's a good alternative to maida or other types of flour. During those days, the daily use product was unusual, and it was in high demand. Customers appreciated the 15 healthful meals I offered, which included cake and spicy dishes like thakali (tomato rice),” she adds.

Monthly Earning

Saroja now makes Rs 50,000 per month from her business and is pleased with her accomplishments. "I've hired 20 ladies who work part-time to suit their schedules. Organic food is something I want to promote. "I want to urge people to pick healthier meals because many items on the market are contaminated," she explains.

"I want the notion of organic farming to spread to every part of the planet," she says. To prevent ingesting chemical-laden food, city inhabitants should practice organic gardening and cultivate their own veggies. Every human being should eat and live in a healthy manner."

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