How to engage more female farmers

By improving sales of organic produce of Uttarakhand, Unnati and Gangotri, two of the cooperatives supported by Women on Wings partner Sri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram, aim to increase the number of female farmers engaged with them. To support this mission, a Women on Wings team comprising expert Marja Versleijen and Senior Business Consultant Supriya Kapoor took the trip to the lower foothills of the Himalayas.

Sales pro brings new approach
Marja Versleijen, a highly experienced sales professional from the Netherlands took a team comprising 10 staff from Unnati, Gangotri and Sri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram (SBMA) on a two days’ sales journey. Says Marja Versleijen: “Checking out the local retail was part of the sales workshop. Understanding your own and your neighbors’ retail outlets is important when creating your sales strategy. For the team this was a new approach, but they totally enjoyed looking with different eyes to their own and other stores.”

Theory and practice go hand in hand
There is more to successful sales than just selling a product. A company needs a clear mission and vision. Marja explained the relevance of a sales strategy and a sales plan, and the five steps of a strategic sales plan. Combining theory with practical assignments, they jointly worked on defining their unique selling point, segmented their customers, looked at all current sales channels and even more importantly, learned how to analyze those to see which channels are winners or losers. Jointly, the Unnati, Gangotri and SBMA team came to quick wins and a long-term sales strategy which will result in better results and more jobs for (female) farmers.

Assessing potential new partner
While working at the lower foothills, the Women on Wings team also took the opportunity to assess Umang, a cooperative that sells dairy products like milk, paneer, chocolate and singouri mithai (a regional sweet). Women on Wings is currently analyzing all information about Umang.

Picture: Supriya Kapoor left and Marja Versleijen second right with the Umang team.