ONganic Foods aims to improve farmers’ welfare and promote healthy food

Women on Wings’ newest partner ONganic Foods (ONganic) was founded in 2015 by Ekta Jaju to provide an integrated and holistic solution to the challenges in agriculture sector. Ekta is extremely passionate about building a sustainable, organic, resilient community in rural India. She realized that finding a reliable market is the single largest challenge small organic farmers faced. Together with a lack of knowledge of market demands and organic best practices, and poor prices, many were forced to look for alternate income options. Ekta was passionate and determined to demonstrate that organic farming is a financially sustainable profession for small holders. Apart from benefits of reduced cost and premium prices, organic farming improves soil quality, promotes bio diversity, is extremely nutritious and healthy and is climate resilient.

Better for farmers, consumers, and the planet
With this in mind she founded ONganic Foods. ONganic’s vision is better livelihoods for farmers, health and wellness for consumers, and a sustainable planet. Under ONganic’s guidance and hand-holding, small farmers are increasingly moving away from chemical methods to natural methods of farming with a special focus on growing age-old indigenous varieties, such as aromatic black rice and red rice. These variants also come with nutritious benefits including boosting immune system, and preventing life threatening diseases such as diabetes. Today, ONganic is a leading global supplier of certified organic agro products including rice, spices, oilseeds, working with 5,000+ farmers across East & North East India.

Access to education, market, and finance
In the past, farmers relied solely on their own experiences and monsoons to determine what to grow and how to grow, resulting in unstable income due to crop failure at the time of droughts and ignorance of market demand. To address this problem, ONganic serves as a platform to provide organic farming methods, weather and market demand information, as well as market entry to the organic food sector. The social enterprise has trained farmers in organic cultivation, input preparation, seed saving, and good post-harvest practices. Farmers associated with ONganic receive seeds and organic inputs as credit, without any interest, which is paid off at the time of purchase of the raw material. Further, ONganic promotes the organic products grown by their farmer groups through various national and international trade fairs and e-commerce platforms. Since October 2022, Women on Wings and ONganic are collaborating on their joint goal to increase the number of jobs and create livelihood opportunities for women in rural India.

Image Ekta Jaju | photo credit Upaya SV