The success of the WomanCAN Tomato Jam Agribusiness has motivated more women to join in. “When they saw us gaining financial independence through this, they were convinced,” says Revathi, a 49-year-old homemaker turned entrepreneur. She is a part of the 13-member Purathakudi Women’s Self Help Group (SHG) that is bringing in sweeping changes to the village of Irungallur.
This sleepy village in Trichy now wakes up to the hustle of these women entreprenuers who have created value-added products out of the tomatoes that taught them to grow organically. Due to impact of the pandemic, their raw produce was selling for only a pittance in the market. With support and training from VOICE Trust, Revathi’s group learned to grow tomatoes organically and turn them into products like jams, vadakam, and pickles. “The tomato vadakam is a big hit among the kids,” Revathi said with a proud smile.
Each member of the Purathakudi SHG contributes Rs 50 monthly for upscaling the WomenCAN project. They look forward to learning more and getting further support from VOICE trust, for this project provided them with the much-needed financial agency and independence. “The main issue faced by us now is that our jam lasts for only a couple of days as it is free of preservatives,” Revethi said. Also, since it is produced from organic tomatoes using natural methods, the quantum produced is small. “Our ultimate goal is to produce enough to meet the growing demand ” she said wryly.
If only this were the toughest challenge all women farmers faced!