Indian grower empowers female microentrepreneurs

Indian grower empowers female microentrepreneurs

Investing in women is a great way to improve the overall level of prosperity in a community.1 When women work, they generate income not just for themselves, but also contribute to greater financial stability in their community. In India, the contribution women make often stays unrecognized as they do not participate formally in the workforce – instead, they stay at home to do unpaid work: looking after the household, ensuring the children get educated and that everyone at home – the young, the elderly and in rural settings even the domestic animals are healthy and happy.2 Meanwhile, agriculture, a sector that has been on the decline in India for years now3, represents another area in which women’s contributions could make a significant difference if given the opportunity and support.

Srishti Mandaar and Anubhav Das, successful entrepreneurs, recognized the need to reverse the declining trend in agriculture and support women’s contributions. In 2016, they founded Red Otter Farms, an aquaponics farming company with a mission to grow and provide people with high-quality, chemical-free produce. Over the past few years, the duo has expanded their growing capacity through additional facilities and partnerships using their Farm-as-a-Service model. Willing to share their success, Srishti and Anubhav continue to work towards empowering women and revitalizing the agricultural sector in India.

SamriddhFarms: Building a cadre of microentrepreneurs with women and marginal farmers

Out of this desire to help marginal farmers, especially women, Red Otter Farms launched their SamriddhFarms programme. ‘Samriddh’ is Hindi for ‘prosperous’, and that’s exactly the point of the project. “We want to make farms more prosperous,” Srishti explains, “with prosperity for all stakeholders involved. Consistent quality of the produce means consumers are happy, and providing produce the market desires means the grower will be profitable and happy.”

The growers, in this case, are farmers with marginal farm holdings – primarily women in rural communities who are unable to seek work outside their homes due to various reasons. “As we build efficient agricultural production capacity and modernize farming systems, we looked for opportunities to scale. We already knew that the women were being overlooked as a formal workforce due to a lack of ‘optimum scalability’. We thought, can we bring earning opportunities to them, at their own home and get them to grow the highest quality of produce in their own backyards?” Srishti adds.

“With SamriddhFarms, we empower the women with economic opportunities through soilless, precision farming and provide a way for them to gain financial independence. And while benefiting the community of women, we are creating a network of modern, sustainable farms – ready to ensure limitless production of quality agricultural produce.”

The SamriddhFarms programme has been developed to allow farmers to concentrate solely on production, while other concerns are managed, as a collective. “Over the last six years, Red Otter has been a production house, growing leafy greens and vine crops, collecting data, and even building growing facilities. We’re now using our knowledge and experience to expand SamriddhFarms,” Anubhav explains.

Continue reading.

Header Photo Caption: Srishti Mandaar (left) and Anubhav Das (right)



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