Introducing processing

Game for innovation

Women in India and Africa try out new technologies

Be it for a healthy snack for kids or preparation of eco-friendly bio-charcoal, introducing processing empowers women to find a market for innovative sorghum products.

Dibyajyothi Borgohain, Madhavi Pomar and Jayanthi Satram.

Dibyajyothi Borgohain, Madhavi Pomar and Jayanthi Satram. Photo: S Punna, ICRISAT


INDIA
Off-farm initiatives

A booklet triggers a venture

Dibyajyothi Borgohain, a first-time entrepreneur talks of her agribusiness start-up – Ind-Millet Foods…

”It started off a year and half ago when my friends and I were looking for business avenues for healthy snacks for kids. The ICRISAT Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) stall at an exhibition had an interesting booklet. We wrote to AIP evincing our interest.

Lab visit

A lab visit was arranged for us. We went through the products and opted for sorghum crispies. You can’t stop kids from eating fried crispies available in the market, so we thought of giving them a healthier option in the form of baked sorghum crispies.

Testing times 

With guidance and technical support from AIP we created a product which we tested in schools, exhibitions and carnivals. It took us eight months to work out the product. We made five batches modifying the composition based on feedback and market surveys of similar products available in the market. Size, taste and the level of crispiness were the major factors that we worked on.

Technical backstopping from AIP

My partners Madhavi Pomar and Jayanthi Satram and I are homemakers and first-time entrepreneurs. After managing our homes for years, we felt we could manage anything! And we did it with ICRISAT’s support.

Future plansInnovation-in-food

Once we develop a good market for the product we want to procure the raw material directly from the farmers. We want to create more opportunities for other women.”

Food processing attracts youth: These sorghum and pearl millet processors based in Nairobi are ICRISAT’s partners.

Food processing attracts youth: These sorghum and pearl millet processors based in Nairobi are ICRISAT’s partners. Photo: ICRISAT

watch video

Services provided by ICRISAT-AIP

The sorghum crispies were developed by the AIP- NutriPlus Kn
owledge program lab in
2012-13

In mid-2013 entrepreneurs were oriented on developing a business plan and test marketing the product.

The product was customized for Ind-Millet in 2014. Innovation and Partnership program helped with label designing and packaging

Registration with Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and the Food Safety and
Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) license were facilitated

The activity was supported by CRP Dryland Cerealsaip-partners-logo

More on AIP: click herehttp://www.aipicrisat.org

AFRICA
On-farm initiatives

Use of sorghum in bakery and as bio-charcoal

This women’s group in Nigeria sells bread, cakes, biscuits and other traditional dishes made from millet, sorghum and groundnut. About 1,200 women from 60 groups were trained on use of sorghum for household utilization and income generation as part of the STVC project.

This women’s group in Nigeria sells bread, cakes, biscuits and other traditional dishes made from millet, sorghum and groundnut. About 1,200 women from 60 groups were trained on use of sorghum for household utilization and income generation as part of the STVC project. Photo: ICRISAT

Women farmers in Kano, Nigeria, were trained on benefiting from technologies for enhancing the sorghum value chain. The workshop for trainers focused on using sorghum in making bakery products like bread, cakes, cookies, biscuits and a local product called gurasa (flat bread) and producing bio-charcoal.

Sessions dealt with topics like food safety practices, hygiene, sanitation, and entrepreneurship. The training aimed to build the capacity of rural women to actualize the objective of Nigeria Sorghum Transformation Value Chain (STVC) in reducing poverty, improving food security, nutrition and health of women and children.

ICRISAT and STVC used the opportunity to link up with Africent Integrated Trade Microfinance Cooperative Society. The society provided training on carbonizing of agricultural waste product to make bio-charcoal. Large-scale adoption of this technology will help reduce the level of deforestation in semi-arid regions since women could use bio-charcoal as an alternative source of energy for household use as well as income generation.

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