Women farmers start Maharashtra’s first rural home kitchen in Ahmednagar

KisanKonnect makes up to 100kg of snacks per day. These are delivered to customers within 2 days after the order.(HT)
KisanKonnect makes up to 100kg of snacks per day. These are delivered to customers within 2 days after the order.(HT)
Updated on Jan 04, 2021 01:10 AM IST
Copy Link
ByEeshanpriya M S

To supplement the uncertain and often meagre income earned from traditional agriculture, a group of women farmers in Ahmednagar’s Shrirampur town have started Maharashtra’s first rural home kitchen. The women cook and pack traditional Maharashtrian snacks and finger foods at the kitchens for customers from Mumbai and Pune, with whom they are connected through a digital marketplace called KisanKonnect.

Started by a group of 11 farmers from Rahata, Shrirampur and Junnar areas of Maharashtra, KisanKonnect is a farmer producer company (FPO). It was started as a digital platform to deliver fresh farm produce such as vegetables and fruits directly to customers’ homes in Mumbai and Pune in April, a month after the country went into lockdown owing to the Covid-19 outbreak. Following the lockdown, farmers began suffering huge losses as markets were closed, and the supply chains for fruits and vegetables were broken owing to the restrictions. Customers were also unable to get vegetables and fruits easily.

Farmers then set up their own digital space and supply chain, took orders from customers online and delivered fresh produce directly to the doorstep of customers during the lockdown.

The kitchen was started around Diwali in a small, 400-square-feet room at the MIDC area in Shrirampur by a group of 20-25 women as a part of the already functional KisanKonnect. It started using the digital platform’s supply chains, call centre and customer care services over the past few months and tapped customers from Mumbai and Pune.

For around three months now, the KisanKonnect kitchen has retained all its old customers and has also gained new ones, and produces up to 100kg of snacks a day, which are packed and transported to customers within 48 hours after receiving the order online.

Gauri Raje, a founding member of KisanKonnect, said, “We started by cooking only Diwali snacks. But our customers insisted we continue selling snacks after Diwali as well. So we have branched out to produce other food items such as chutney, aachar, Maharashtrian and Gujarati sweets and finger foods after Diwali, too. The platform has not only helped us earn a supplementary and stable income apart from the income from farming that our families earn, but it has also given the women employees a sense of empowerment and financial independence.”

Vandana Rashinkar, another founding member of the kitchen, said that the platform has boosted their confidence. “I have observed that women who work at the kitchen have developed a sense of confidence and tremendous financial independence. I used to believe we are not as educated as women who work in firms in big cities. But now, we are still able to earn money independently just like them. Seeing that we bring money home every month, our families are also supporting the venture.”

Before working with the KisanKonnect Kitchen, these women have been farmers working along with their other family members on their family’s farms.

“The income from farming is volatile and based on many external factors such as the climate, market connectivity, healthy growth of crops etc. During the complete lockdown months, it was difficult to keep this income stable,” Raje said.

Families of these women earn up to Rs5-6 lakh per annum from farming. Many of them are large joint families, depending on a single farm land for the household income.

With KisanKonnect, these women earn up to Rs10,000 a month by doing a convention seven-eight hour shift. If women wish to work over time, they are paid extra money per hour. All expenses of the kitchen, raw materials and salaries of the women who work at the kitchen are managed through the profit earned from selling the snacks.

KisanKonnect Kitchen is soon planning to branch out into other nearby cities such as Nashik and Aurangabad. Currently, KisanKonnect has over 400 farmer members, with over 2,000 farmers supplying their produce and making a turnover of over Rs4 crore.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • For representation only (HT File Photo)

    Fresh Covid cases fall: 138 new ones, 186 recoveries reported

    Uttar Pradesh reported 138 new Covid-19 cases on Monday while 186 patients recovered, the state health department data read. The recovery rate is 98.81% in Uttar Pradesh, the data showed. “The state tested 91,282 samples in the past 24 hours and till now 11,29,42,662 samples have been tested,” said Amit Mohan Prasad, additional chief secretary, medical and health in a press statement. No death was reported in the past 24 hours.

  • A stall selling tomatoes in the city, on Monday. (Ravindra Joshi/HT PHOTO)

    Tomato prices shoot up to 60 per kg in Pune

    PUNE There is no end in sight to the hike in vegetable prices with the ubiquitous tomato, too, now selling for 60 per kg, further adding to the common man's woes. Not just tomatoes, the prices of several other vegetables have witnessed a rise lately. There are many factors contributing to this sudden rise in prices. Small vendors are the worst affected, but there are hardly any policies to assist them.

  • The idea was the brainchild of Atul Sharma, president, local NGO “Sankalp”, which mainly worked against women trafficking and later associated itself with women empowerment. (HT PHOTO)

    Making cow dung logs: Poor Meerut village women eke out a living and how

    Some poor women of Amhera village in Meerut were among those who also lost their temporary jobs of maids and labourers during the peak Covid period and subsequent lockdowns. However, they did not sit idle. Instead, they soon took to making “Gau-kasht” (cow dung logs) as a means of earning. Initially, six to seven poor families started making cow dung logs. At present, 17 poor families of the village are into it.

  • For representation only (Sourced)

    UP boost to tourism: Sites linked to historic persons being developed as tourist destinations

    The Yogi Adityanath government is developing places associated with historic personalities of the state into tourist destinations to promote tourism. In the state capital, the government is renovating Maharaja Bijli Pasi fort where it plans to start a light and sound show. In the Chitrakoot district, the first phase of renovating the Maharishi Valmiki Ashram at Lalapur has already been completed at a cost of 187.15 lakh.

  • A Right to Information (RTI) query by social activist Vivek Velankar has revealed that various state and central governments owe water arrears of Rs105 crore to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). (HT FILE PHOTO)

    Central, state departments owe water arrears of 105 crore to PMC

    A Right to Information query by social activist Vivek Velankar has revealed that various state and central governments owe water arrears of Rs105 crore to the Pune Municipal Corporation. The dues to be paid by public works department (PWD), police, Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, postal department, Akashwani and police collectively is 54 crore.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 16, 2022