Woman with a mission

Like other parts of the country, women in Jammu too have started to set up their own business ventures and are not only contributing in the developmental process of the Union Territory, but also in shaping their own independent career. One such successful women entrepreneur is Pooja Gupta, founder of Himalayan Bio-organic Foods Pvt Ltd with Brand name Nimbark. She has embarked on a mission to empower women in rural and hilly areas by providing them training in cultivating organic foods. Undaunted by challenges, she is determined to take this mission to its logical conclusion.
In a candid conversation with Daily Excelsior Correspondent, she talks about various issues from women empowerment to challenges in the field of cultivating organic foods.
When and how did you start this venture ?
I started this business four year ago. Actually, we have been in rice business for last 150 years under the brand name of Sarveshwar Foods Ltd. This is the first listed company in Jammu and Kashmir, and Himalayan Bio organic is subsidiary of the Sarveshwar Foods Ltd.
Did you receive any support from family members ?
I am thankful to my father-in-law Suraj Pratap Gupta and my husband Rohit Gupta, without their support it would have been very difficult to start a venture like this. They believed in me and my venture.
Do you think that the dream of empowerment of Indian women has been realised ?
No.The dream of socio-economic empowerment will not be complete without empowering those who are living at India’s periphery. These are the women farmers of India whose voices often go unheard owing to their gender, and who struggle to establish their identity at grassroot level due to patriarchal traditions and gender socialization. Women’s work in agriculture is in addition to their role as wives, daughter-in-laws and as mothers.
Do you consider that gender based discrimination continues?
The gender based discrimination continues in multiple ways : women are not recognized as farmers in Indian policies, thereby denying them institutional support of banks, insurance, cooperatives and Government departments.
What kind of problems women encounter on health front ?
Almost 58 percent of pregnant and 32 percent non educated women in India are anaemic, and it is estimated that anaemic is the underlying cause of 20-40 percent of maternal deaths in India.
And what about children?
According to Rapid survey on children, 29 percent children (aged less than 3 years) are underweight, 15 percent are wasted, and 39 percent are stunted. The numbers are even worse among hilly and tribal children.
What is the way out for their health problem?
Poshan Farming-a novel concept in this direction has taken off. People (especially women) are trained to grow organic vegetables, rice, pulses and fruits at their agriculture land. Women are also provided training to prepare and maintain their Poshan Farming.The idea is to ensure nutritious food at family level.
What else is the motto of Poshan Farming?
Besides providing nutritious food, it will also empower women financially and which in turn will help in improving their socio economic conditions.
What are the challengs faced by organic Food Professionals?
The major challenge faced by organic food professionals, expecially in hilly/tribal villages is to find a suitable market and prices for their products. Himalayan Bio Organic has started market and research in this direction and is confident of solving the problem?
What is your future planning?
I am targetting to be the biggest participant in organic business in coming five years.
Are you confident of achieving your goal?
Sure, rather 100 percent sure. In the beginning I faced lot of challenges since I was a home maker turned woman entrepreneur. I faced a lot of hurdles, but they made be bold and strong to overcome them. I also believe that when we work from pure heart for the well being of humanity, there is a super power to help us in this endeavour.