Chalgenius Salutes Women Empowerment

Meet this 34-year-old entrepreneur from Udaipur helping tribal women to reap the ‘Fruit’ of success

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A high school graduate is making a turnover of Rs 80 lakh by empowering tribal women of Rajasthan to earn from forest products. Just spare a few minutes to laud his initiative…

Jovaki Agro Food

Belonging to a rural family, 34-year old Rajesh Oza from Udaipur in Rajasthan used to be disturbed by the plight of tribal women around his area. “As many tribal families did not have a proper source of income they relied on selling custard apples, which is a wildly grown fruit in this area. But selling this fruit is troublesome and people had to walk several miles a day or sit on the roadside for hours to sell them. But their earnings were much less than the market.
Another problem that hit them was the short shelf life of the fruits. As there was no way to store or preserve the fruits the only way was to throw them off. This was 60% wasted. So I always wanted to do something to address this problem. And thus was the birth of Jovaki Agro Food,” Rajesh told chalgenius.com.

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Jovaki Agro Food

Rajesh and his co-founder Pooja Dilip Bohra launched Jovaki Agro Food ~ a value chain for underutilized fruits like custard apple, jamun and amla ~ in 2017. The tribal women are engaged in collecting the fruits and then processing and freezing, which helps in increasing the shelf life of the fruits and reducing waste. In the process Rajesh ensures the families collecting the fruits can earn a decent wage that extends beyond the harvest season. Till now, Jovaki has worked with 2,400 tribal people by providing employment to 600 tribal women

Empowering the tribal women

“We procure our raw material from the tribal women in the region who harvest the forest produce. Infact, we are able to provide them a higher price for their fruits than when they sell it in the local markets. Currently, we deal with around 450 tribal women, who are engaged in the collection of forest produce during the harvest season, spread over 12 villages where they have organized themselves into self-help groups of about 35. Around 150 tribal women are engaged in the manual processing of the products,” said Rajesh, who worked in manufacturing and marketing sectors in Mumbai after passing class 12.

Tribal women taught entrepreneurship mantra

“Despite lacking resources, education and having a limited source of income, the tribal community people deal with these things with a positive attitude. This was the biggest learning for us. This attitude applies in handling our business, as there may be ups and downs, but we must move forward with the same spirit, motivation, and positive attitude,” Rajesh told.

Tribal women taught entrepreneurship mantra

“Despite lacking resources, education and having a limited source of income, the tribal community people deal with these things with a positive attitude. This was the biggest learning for us. This attitude applies in handling our business, as there may be ups and downs, but we must move forward with the same spirit, motivation, and positive attitude,” Rajesh told.

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Diversification

Initially, Jovaki delivered pulps of processed fruits to the ice-cream industry and catering services. Currently, it has also come up with a range of products namely jamun sticks, jamun seed powder and jamun flakes. Infact there are five products of jamun and plans are afoot to launch another five in the next two months. Apart from Rajasthan, the products are sold in 4 states ~ Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.

Get in touch

Rajesh Oza
Email: jovakiagrofood@gmail.com
Contact: 79778 76367

Keywords: chalgenius, start-ups, atmanirbhar bharat, vocalforlocal, Rajesh Oza, Jovaki agrofood, Udaipur, tribal women, Rajasthan, Udaipur

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