Young Pune entrepreneur wins laurels for organic farm products
Neha Dattatray Ghavate is the recipient of the Ramabai Joshi award for women entrepreneurs MCCIA awards 2017.pune Updated: Sep 10, 2017 17:44 IST
Neha Dattatray Ghavate’s company Natural Agro, a fruits and vegetable processing unit, was set up in 2014 and is her dream project. She spoke to Prachi Bari.
What made you set up this company?
I always wanted to do something on my own. We come from a farming community and I thought of starting a business related to it, where I could use the raw materials from organic farms. I completed my graduation in 2013-2014 in BSc Chemistry at Wadia college. I thought of starting some business related to agriculture with my dad and hence, studied about fruits and vegetables processing and started Natural Agro.
What does Natural Agro do?
We make dehydrated powders from fruits and vegetables (spinach, garlic, onion, lemon grass, mint) from organic farms. These are freshly bought, then graded, chopped and washed in the clean water. Then, they are dried in the tray dryer at a particular temperature so the vitamins, minerals and proteins stays intact in the products. The dehydrated powders are used in flavouring soups, curries.
What are the products that stand out?
We are known for supplying and manufacturing mint powder, lemon grass powder, beetroot powder, curry leaf powder, dry jambhul. Ever since our inception, we strive rigorously to manufacture products of impeccable quality by adopting and adhering to the principle of uniformity in the business protocol.
What kind of difficulties did you face?
I didn’t face a lot of difficulties but since it was my first step as an entrepreneur, I really had to study, and understand all the sections - from processing to marketing, to following good practices in manufacturing- everything on my own. But my father always supported me and Rahuri Krushi Vidyapeeth, SB Shinde, Aamhi Udyogini Prathistan, Baramati Agriculture Trust, Agraj Foods, Devshree Foods, all these people have helped me in market products and also gave valuable advice.
How did you manage the funds required for setting it up?
Initially, we needed funds around 15 lakh for constructing the manufacturing plant. For this, my mother, who is employed, took a loan. Post that we needed the machinery for processing it, where my father helped me with his savings, together we managed to set up my business in 25 lakh. Now, that the business is growing, we may require funds for which I have applied to grants.
Where are your products sold?
Since our products are organic and our formulations are natural, pure and safe to consume, we began testing it in Pune first, then slowly to Mumbai and now we send our products to Singapore through Peshwai foods and to Dubai, through a trading company. But since we also set up our website, we get a lot of mail orders from across the country. I want my products to reach everywhere in the world and I aim to achieve this.