How to tap into the retail market? This was the main issue put on the table by a potential business partner of Women on Wings. During a two days assessment of Aapni Saheli, a producer company in dairy in Dholpur, Rajasthan, Maria van der Heijden, co-founder of Women on Wings, and Supriya Kapoor, Senior Business Consultant of Women on Wings worked on an in-depth screening of the potential of the 1,995 members based cooperative.
No credit facilities
The main objective of Aapni Saheli is to enhance the income of a family through milk marketing. Currently, the farmers are not getting enough money for their milk production because of ‘Dudhiya’. Dudhiya means middleman. It is a common practice by Dudhiya’s to buy a buffalo for the farmer and then get their milk on a very low price. As there are no credit facilities in an area like Dholpur district, farmers are depending on the credit facilities of Dudhiya’s.
Aapni Saheli started working in 2012 in unfavorable conditions as many of the farmers asked for a loan on 0% interest as they were used to get this from the middleman. By creating awareness about the advantages of a free market, Aapni Saheli was able to convince the women to become a member. Today, there are 25 active milk collection centers in the villages, plus 2 centers where the milk is chilled. 90% of the raw chilled milk is sold to a producer of milk powder and ghee; 10% is sold in the retail market through a `Saheli Fresh’ outlet in Dholpur.
Available retail market
Maria: “The margins in the retail market are up to 40% higher than in the B2B market. The biggest opportunity is that there is no pure milk available from any organized milk producer in the local market. We shared some first tips how to expand the local market and asked many questions about the financial performance, operations, enablers and internal management to get a clear picture of Saheli.”
Pradan and Tata Trusts
Aapni Saheli is supported by Pradan since 2012 and Pradan is one of the partners of Tata Trust. Since November 2014 Women on Wings is in the process of identifying potential partners in the network of Tata Trusts towards a greater sustainable scale of impact. With the assessments, Women on Wings is identifying partners who are willing to scale up and are able to adapt business knowledge from outside.