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It was a big gamble for Ambika Somasundaran when she resigned from her well-paid job and have become an entrepreneur in 2017. Nonetheless, it has paid off. In the present day, she runs Kariat Dry Meals, a enterprise enterprise at Marottichal within the Puthur panchayat of Thrissur district. Along with flours, curry masalas and powders underneath the model identify, Dry Combine, the corporate sells value-added merchandise from moringa (drumstick).

“I labored with ESAF Small Finance Financial institution for 17 years and as a part of my job, I used to conduct and coordinate entrepreneurship growth, ability growth and consciousness programmes. Finally, I developed an curiosity to turn out to be an entrepreneur. So I selected to resign and pursue my dream,” she says.

When it got here to zeroing in on a enterprise concept, Ambika says that she had a number of choices. “Ours is a hilly terrain the place there are sufficient uncooked supplies within the type of greens, turmeric, nendran bananas and jackfruit. With the steerage of District Industrial Centre I took a subsidy underneath the Prime Minister’s Employment Era Programme [PMEGP] to start out the enterprise,” she says.

Value-added products from drumstick manufactured by Ambika Somasundaran

Worth-added merchandise from drumstick manufactured by Ambika Somasundaran
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Her goal was to make “safe-to-eat merchandise” created from locally-available produce and make use of ladies in her neighbourhood. “These ladies wished to turn out to be economically unbiased. However due to the restrictions in a patriarchal set-up, they weren’t ready to do something on their very own. They instructed me that if I began one thing, they might come to work for me,” recollects Ambika.

Kickstarting the enterprise

She launched her enterprise by promoting curry powders, and flours to make breakfast dishes comparable to idiyappam, idli, dosa and puttu in addition to completely different sorts of sun-dried wafers ( kondattams). “However it’s an immensely aggressive discipline and I needed to give you one thing new. That’s how I ended up experimenting with completely different sorts of flour to make puttu and merchandise created from drumsticks,” she explains.

Women at work at Ambika Somasundaran's food processing unit, Kariat Dry Foods, in Marottichal, Thrissur

Ladies at work at Ambika Somasundaran’s meals processing unit, Kariat Dry Meals, in Marottichal, Thrissur
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Puttu, a breakfast staple, is often made with rice flour. Dry Combine has 10 varieties of puttu flour with rice flour as a base. There may be flour with carrot, beetroot, banana, inexperienced gram, jackfruit, jackfruit seed, corn, peanut, ragi and njavara rice.

As for drumstick merchandise, there may be powder, rice flour and soup combine created from drumstick leaves. They had been launched in August 2021 by Minister for Agriculture P Prasad. “A buyer had requested for drumstick leaves powder. Across the similar time, a good friend had inquired if I may assist with making a dish within the colors of our Nationwide Flag for a contest in his ward’s faculty. By then I used to be already experimenting with manufacturing drumstick powder. As soon as I examined it with my common clients, I used to be assured about launching it. My good friend’s baby made puttu within the colors of the flag and received first prize as effectively!” she says.

Ambika Somasundaran's food venture has flours for making 10 varieties of 'puttu'

Ambika Somasundaran’s meals enterprise has flours for making 10 sorts of ‘puttu’
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Her enterprise is supported by Ollur Krishi Samridhi (OKS), a farmer producer organisation (FPO), which falls within the constituency of Ollur MLA and Minister for Income, Okay Rajan. The FPO launched a programme to propagate drumstick cultivation in January 2020 underneath which 10,000 drumstick saplings had been distributed to 4 panchayats.

P Anitha, professor, Division of Vegetable Science at School of Agriculture, Kerala Agricultural College, had taken consciousness courses in these panchayats on planting the saplings and taking good care of them. She, alongside along with her pupil, Anitta Judy Kurian, had carried out a research in 2018-19 to judge nutrient composition in numerous sorts of drumsticks as a part of a “plant venture” funded by the Authorities of Kerala. “We collected 25 drumstick varieties that had been within the fifth yr of planting. Drumstick is a reservoir of vitamins, starting from proteins, vitamin C and A, minerals comparable to calcium, iron and potassium, antioxidant compounds and the like. International locations comparable to Thailand and Malaysia are far forward in manufacturing value-added merchandise from drumstick; Kerala is taking child steps on this path,” says Dr Anitha.

Drumstick soup mix

Drumstick soup combine
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Ambika is presently sourcing leaves from households in her neighbourhood. “We give ₹30 per kilogram of leaves. They should take away the principle stem solely. The leaves are completely cleaned in turmeric water to take away bugs/worms and filth. They’re put within the drier the identical day itself and the dried leaves are packed in air-tight containers. We powder them as wanted. To get one kilogram of dry leaves, we’d like no less than eight kilograms of recent leaves. And when the dry leaves are made into powder, one other 100 grams or so are misplaced,” she says.

Product vary

The drumstick powder can be utilized in curries. It can be had with water or buttermilk. “The ready-to-mix soup powder has cumin, pepper, shallots and garlic. Combine it in water and boil. Shallots sauteed in oil or ghee will be added for flavour. The drumstick rice flour can be utilized to make dishes comparable to puttu or idiyappam or will be added to idli/dosa dough,” Ambika explains.

Ambika Somasundaran

Ambika Somasundaran
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Drumstick millet combine, chutney powder and rasam combine from drumstick leaves are a few of the different merchandise. There’s a payasam combine as effectively, with drumstick flesh and manicholam (Sorghum). She additionally plans to fabricate oil from drumstick seeds. “We’ve got bought the equipment to make drumstick powder capsules. In the meantime, Ollur Krishi Samridhi has initiated steps to export drumstick merchandise, puttu flours and millet combine, which are available three varieties. We’re wanting on the West Asia market initially,” she says.

Drumstick merchandise can be found at SARAS Mela presently on at Kanakakkunnu grounds in Thiruvananthapuram. They are often purchased on-line as effectively. Contact: 9539731501.


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