Talking business with female farmers

Hearing rural women use business terms like break-even and business model CANVAS may sound unlikely, but it was exactly what they did at a round table discussion with 12 Farmer Producers Organizations, jointly organized by Heifer International, FICCI and Women on Wings on Monday January 22, 2018 in New Delhi.

Sharing trends and ideas
Over twenty female farmers had travelled from Odisha, Bihar and Rajasthan to present their -women owned, community based- Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs) to the audience which consisted of various stakeholders from the private and public sector. The focus of this round table discussion was to elicit ideas and advice from the stakeholders on development trends in India that would serve as input for the 12 FPO’s to adapt and use to grow their business in a sustainable manner.

Making FPO’s investable
While all 12 FPOs have goat production as their primary trade, some are also developing complementary value chains like vegetables, honey, cashew and maize. Each FPO reaches out to individual farmers representing their respective families and over time should attain a membership of at least 1,000 farmers, the majority of whom must be women. The joint program of Heifer and Women on Wings aims to recommend these FPOs at an early stage to develop specific market system focused parameters that make the FPOs a profitable investment opportunity in the near future.

The partners
These 12 FPOs are formed in Heifer’s projects in India across the states of Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan. For 70 years, Heifer International has provided livestock and agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. Women on Wings will provide business coaching to the 12 FPOs to prepare them for the next step in their growth. For over 10 years, Women on Wings has provided business consultancy and coaching to social business in India that provide employment to rural women in sectors like Textiles & Handicrafts, Food & Agri and Non Timber Forest Produce. FICCI facilitated and supported the round table.