From Poultry to Pickle: The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia Support Keeps a Business in the Market

Bhagawati Pariyar is an entrepreneur who, since 2020, has run a pickle business with support from her husband in Birendranagar Municipality-7, Surkhet district. Having started in poultry farming, the low prices she was getting for broiler meat and the high production costs led her to shift to pickle production. There were challenges at first and profits were minimal, but Ms. Pariyar continued and sustained the business. Then, COVID-19 happened.

“I’d been struggling to cope financially and had plans to generate more income by scaling up, introducing new pickle varieties like mango, bamboo shoot, mixed garlic and Akabare chilies,” she said. However, the emergence of COVID-19 and the outstanding post-pandemic effects severely impacted her entire plans. “I had difficulty accessing loans due to the capital crisis the pandemic caused,” she explained. During this period, she earned scarcely Nepali Rupee (NPR) 20,000 ($151) per month, barely enough to live on.

In 2022, Ms. Pariyar approached the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) for support to access finance, and with the activity’s facilitation, secured a loan of NPR 200,000 ($1,513) from Gharelu Tatha Sana Udhyog Sahakari Sanstha cooperative in Birendranagar. CSISA contributed 50% of the 16% interest rate, and Ms. Bhagawati used the loan to buy a solar drying machine, drums, jars and raw materials and began selling her products in Birendranagar’s local market.

Ms. Bhagawati also participated in a training organized by the activity, acquiring knowledge in financial management, business strategy, quality control and product hygiene maintenance. She now supplies 13 kinds of pickles to hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops and marts through door-to-door and on-demand sales. Her monthly net income has increased to NPR 45,000 ($341). Of her total earnings, Ms. Bhagawati allocates NPR 20,000 ($151) to household expenses and NPR 20,000 ($151) to pay monthly loan repayments, saving the remaining NPR 5,000 ($38). She also actively participates in agriculture fairs and exhibitions held in the district. Most recently, she earned around NPR 20,000 ($151) at an eight-day agriculture fair organized by the Department of Cottage and Small Industries offices in collaboration with the District Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Surkhet. Looking ahead, Ms. Bhagawati Pariyar plans to expand her market presence within the Surkhet district and even further to other parts of Karnali province.

Ms. Bhagawati says, “CSISA’s help has changed my business and life. It means I could manage my pickle business more proficiently, expand my product range and increase my monthly income. It’s provided a path to financial stability. I’m truly grateful for their support — it’s inspired me to dream bigger and strive to achieve further growth.”

This initiative is supported by the Feed the Future for Global Hunger and the Food Security Initiative under USAID/Nepal, implemented by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), in association with CSISA response and resilience partners iDE NepalInternational Water Management Institute (IWMI), Cornell University, Texas A&M University (TAMU) and aligned with Transforming Agrifood Systems in South Asia (TAFSSA).

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Posted on CSISA Success Story, Nepal-news, News - Homepage, October 30, 2023

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