Processes farm-produced amla into juice, pickles, and other value added products
Farmer to turn into processor is a daunting task, but Mr. Balasaheb Lhanu Valunj took up this challenge. He and his family are into farming from many years. He established Sanjeevani Group of Organic Medicinal Farm in 2007 at Akola, Maharashtra. Along with his wife Mrs. Sunita, he took the risky yet profitable decision to start processing their farm-produced amla into different value-added products like powder, juice, sweet honey candy, flaxes, pickles and supari. Mr. Valunj got his company registered and sells all the products under the brand name Sanjeevani.
Annually about 10 tons of amla is produced at the farm. Other crops grown are 200 medicinal herbs (weeds), sugarcane, different types of mango, and custard apple. “We do 100% organic farming,” proudly shares Mr. Valunj.
Amla is rich in nutritional value but unfortunately the demand is not high. In the words of Mr. Valunj, “There is no market value to raw amla and so there was no way without processing & self-marketing we can earn better with this medicinal fruit. So we took up the challenge and started processing.” It was certainly not easy to get into producing value-added products for Valunj family with no knowledge and prior experience in food processing. Putting all the initial hesitation and hiccups to rest, Mr. Valunj took the first step to his future plans of being a processor by joining a course.
He joined the course in food processing at MPKV, Rahuri, Maharashtra. He learnt the intricacies of processing and moved to the next step of implementation. With the capital investment of Rs. 5000, he started the processing unit to produce amla based value-added products.
All the products are sold at various organic agri exhibitions and food exhibitions arranged by department of agriculture in Pune, Ahemadnagar, Nashik, Aurngabad, Shirdi, Thane and Mumbai. Marketing and sales are challenges for many, but Mr. Valunj does not find it difficult as he believes, “When we are different from others and best in quality, marketing becomes easy to sell our special products.” All the products are sold by the company on its own. Mr. Valunj is satisfied with the sales of these products and the returns.
When asked about his overall experience of being a processor now from a farmer, he says, “We are farmers first and now also processors. It feels very good and accomplished.” In the time to come, he plans to promote and train other organic farmers for processing and primary packaging post organic farming and harvesting.
Sanjeevani Group of Organic Medicinal Farm
“Manmandir” KG Rajmarg,
Aurangpur, Tal. Akole 422601,
Dist. A’ Nagar, Maharashtra
Mobile – 09881270255
Email – [ email@example.com ]( mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org )