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Women Farmers Start Maharashtra’s First Rural Home Kitchen. This Brilliant Move Has Helped Their Families Stay Afloat Through The Lockdown

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Farmers, who are the backbone of our nation, have been massively affected by this lockdown. They have really paid the heftiest price. You see, in early 2020 when everything started to close down it took a toll on our supply chains which meant that farmers earned a very meagre income through traditional agriculture. However, to supplement that a group a woman farmers came up with a very innovative solution. They started Maharashtra’s first rural home kitchen. They sell traditional Maharashtrian food through a digital platform called KissanKonnect. How brilliant is this? 

KissanKonnect is a farmer producer company that was started by 11 farmers from Rahata, Shrirampur and Junnar areas of Maharashtra. The digital platform was started to deliver farm fresh produce to customers in Mumbai and Pune. During the lockdown, they took orders and delivered fresh produce directly to their customer’s doorstep. 

However, the kitchen was started in Ahmednagar’s Shrirampur town around Diwali by a group of 20-25 women as part of KissanKonnect. It tapped into the digital platform’s supply chain, call centres and gathered customers all over Mumbai and Pune. For around three months now, the KisanKonnect kitchen makes around 100kg of snacks every day. These snacks are then packed and delivered to the customers within 48 hours of receiving the order. 

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Gauri Raje, a founding member of KisanKonnect, said, “We started by cooking only Diwali snacks. But our customers insisted we continue selling snacks after Diwali as well. So we have branched out to produce other food items such as chutney, aachar, Maharashtrian and Gujarati sweets and finger foods after Diwali, too. The platform has not only helped us earn a supplementary and stable income apart from the income from farming that our families earn, but it has also given the women employees a sense of empowerment and financial independence.” 

Before working with the KissanKonnect kitchen, these women were working as farmers with their families. Due to the lockdown months, earning an income through farming became extremely dicey. With KisanKonnect, these women earn up to Rs10,000 a month by doing a convention seven-eight hour shift. If women wish to work overtime, they are paid extra money per hour.   

All kitchen expenses, the salaries of the women and the raw materials are managed by the profits these women make by selling their snacks. 

This really is an amazing initiative. I hope that more digital platforms give farmers alternate income opportunities like this.

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