We recently distributed tomato saplings to a self-help group for women farmers whom we had previously trained in organic farming practices and asked them to share recipes and techniques for preserving the tomatoes. Once their organic tomatoes ripened, they made gingery tomato jam that sold out quickly- a sign of their growing business. At their next meeting, they set up two log books, one for accounting and one for a record of the decisions they make as a group.
Their first decision was to separate into four teams: one to prepare more jam, one to make tomato pickles, one to make tomato papad (a bit like potato chips) and the last team will work with VOICE Trust on marketing.
These products sell for a lot more than the raw tomatoes would, and have a significantly longer shelf life, which avoids food waste and extends the shelf life of their produce, which allows for a more flexible response to changing market conditions such as those resulting from COVID restrictions. By giving the women access to a mobile-phone-powered trade, their products can even reach far-away markets. We expect this enterprise to increase the women’s income by 25%.