Sweet oranges source of income for rural women

One could judge the sweet oranges fallen premature from the trees as waste. Looking brown and small from the outside, in the inside however a beautiful source for medicine. Women collect aborted sweet oranges in the orchards, providing them a regular additional income during two seasons per year.

Hesperidin source for medicine
Women on Wings collaborates with Grameena Vikas Kendram (GVK) which runs a number of innovative projects that include organic cotton, water and soil conservation. GVK creates opportunity for horticultural labour and marginalized farmers to earn extra income by collection, processing and sale of premature fallen sweet oranges that otherwise go as waste. A naturally occurring bio-flavonoid called ‘Hesperidin’ is present in these dropped fruits which has value in pharmaceutical industry. By adopting a hybrid model (NGO and commercial company), GVK`s livelihood model is benefiting thousands of downtrodden families, especially women in Kadapa and Anantapur districts.

Clearer understanding requirements
Recently, a team of Women on Wings travelled to Andhra Pradesh (South India) to support GVK in developing strategy for supply chain efficiency through automation and scaling for impact. Joost Theunis, expert at Women on Wings, and Shashank Teotia, senior business consultant at Women on Wings worked two days with a team of GVK on identifying the key intervention nodes across the value chain to introduce automation in order to shorten the processing period and reduce cost. Automation, beyond financially effective, helps in risk mitigation during prolonged wet spells like cyclones and monsoon.
Joost: “Understanding the process of sweet oranges collection from the orchard and our personal visit to interior villages brought us to the understanding that there are more areas that require intervention than just drying through automation. So the workshop back at the office that was to be a vanilla two day automation inputs, changed into extensive brainstorming around the complete value chain processes.”

Joint goal: growing jobs for women
After two long days of extensive brainstorming, the team of GVK has gained conviction and clarity on the way forward. Women on Wings’ facilitation helped the management team to understand the areas of improvements and feasible methods to adopt for process quality improvement. All with the ultimate aim to increase the number of women employed. Currently, 400 women are engaged in collecting sweet oranges. The joint goal is to grow this number to 4,000 women in the next three years.