India success story of Karnataka woman now eyes launching her Own Dairy Brand

Helpless housewife to confident Businesswoman!

Story of Mahadevi Ganapati Arer

Life was never easy for Mahadevi Ganapati Arer, a resident of Arebayilu village in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka.Like most residents of her village, Mahadevi and her family made a meager living working as daily wage workers at Arecanut plantations.

But the world she knew came crashing down when her husband met with an accident while working at a construction site.The accident left her husband Ganapati Arer in poor health, and ever after spending more than Rs 2 lakh on his treatment, the doctors said that he would not be able to work again.

This left Mahadevi with no choice but to take up the responsibility of running the family which also included her two sons who are students.Initially, she tried to continue working on the areca nut plantations, but the income from there was enough to meet the expenses of her husband’s treatment and the studies of her children.

That is when Mahadevi decided to explore other options, to improve her income.

“Our family was going through a lot of financial hardships and I realised that working on the plantation will never help us out of it. That is when I started thinking about doing something of my own. So I joined a Self Help Group and an NGO gave ustraining in dairy production. Immediately I knew that this is what I want to do,” Mahadevi told Indiatimes.

Start with NGO

With the help of the NGO, Manuviksa, Mahadevi took her first steps toward becoming self-reliant. With a loan of Rs 70,000 from the SHG, she bought her first cow.

She sold four litres of milk locally every day, pricing one litre at Rs.29.By the end of the first month, Mahadevi was to earn Rs.3480.

“After meeting the maintenance costs of running the business, I was able to save Rs.1,500 to meet my household expenses,” Mahadevi said.

Over time she saved enough to buy another cow and later added more.Within two years of beginning her dairy business, Mahadevi was able to purchase two more milch cows to expand her business.“Looking at the way the business was picking up, I decided to take a personal loan of Rs.6,00,000 to start a full-fledged, full-time dairy business,” Mahadevi said.

Slow and Steady

Today the 45-year-old owns 12 cattle and sells 100 liters of milk every day earning around Rs 3,000.

This includes 10 cows and 2 buffaloes of different breeds like Highfold, Malenadugidda, Jersey, Giddagheer, etc. Her cows alone yield about 80 litres of milk, of which she sells 40 litres to the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF). Other than the milk, Mahadevi also sells cow dung, which is used as fertilizer.”I sell 10 -15 trucks of cow dung as fertilizer every year. A truckload of fertilizer is worth Rs.9,000 and I sell all 15 loads to a contractor in Manjuguni village altogether,” she said. 

Confident Business Women

She has divided her income into two – the money earned from selling milk harvested in the morning is used to buy fodder and other daily expenses. The income from selling milk in the evening is used to pay off the loans, expand the business, and as savings.With the income from her dairy, Mahadevi was able to provide proper medical treatment to her husband and fund the studies of her two children.

Repaying 50% of her loan amount has brought her the confidence that she will be able to clear the rest of it too.

She, however, admitted that the journey so was not a smooth one.”In the initial days, I had to shuttle between the hospital and house, as my husband was undergoing treatment. I had to sell the milk in the morning and collect the money by evening to meet the hospital expenses and run the household,” she recalled.

Even now, she says unexpected setbacks do happen but has gained the courage to face them.“Recently, one of the cows that I newly purchased for Rs.60,000 that used to give 24 litres of milk daily died of Mastitis. Even after spending almost Rs. 80,000 rupees for medicine and treatment, we were not able to save her”, she said.

Own Dairy Brand

Today, Mahadevi is a strong businesswoman, who is determined to help those around her in whichever way possible.

With 12 cattle and their calves, Mahadevi’s small farm is fast running out of space to accommodate them all.

As the next step, Mahadevi wants to launch her own dairy brand and provide jobs to at least a few women from her village.

“My next aim is to expand the farm and then launch our own branded milk and other products. I plan to buy milk from small dairy farmers in the village and sell it under a new brand. I know, it is going to be a challenging one, but it is a long-term goal,” Mahadevi said, beaming in confidence.