Back in 2002, Sobita Tamuli was an 18-year-old married girl with little formal education, living in a small village in Assam. Today, she is a successful entrepreneur heading a thriving establishment that has under its wings two brands flourishing in the local market.
A special report by Eclectic Northeast traces the journey of this young woman from Telana village of Assam, who started making organic manure at home with the help of some local women 12 years ago.
Source: By Deepraj (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
With passing years, her dedication and perseverance have only brought newer experiences for Sobita and opportunities for her business. The recipe for the manure is simple, yet effective. A mixture of cow dung, banana plant, earthworms, khaar, and fallen leaves. Everything is locally available and financially viable. Her brand of manure is in great demand and is equally popular with farmers as well as nurseries. Also called kesuhaar in local language, the manure is sold via her self help group ‘Seuji’, at a rate of Rs 50 per 5 kg packet.
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While keeping up with the ongoing business of manure making, she has now ventured into the traditional market of japi making. Japis are traditional conical hats with wide rims from Assam, which look as pretty on the wall as they look on the head!
Sobita’s group also specialises in making customised japis according to an individual’s or an organisation’s request. The members of the self-help group don’t just make these japis, but also sell them in the neighbouring market.
“Instead of relying on middlemen, we deemed it wiser to do the selling ourselves. Also, our main motive is to attract visitors to smaller markets such as ours, and not the other way round,” Sobita said to Eclectic Northeast.
While speaking of how the reaction of the people of her community has changed over the years, Sobita said, “A decade back when I had started, there was hardly any encouragement for me. Now, things are different. The whole village is involved in the organic manure and the japi business. They have realised how possibilities live in even seemingly small ideas.”
Being the hard-core entrepreneur that she is, Sobita does not wish stop here. With agarbatti making on her mind next, she is all set to spread the sweet scent of her success further!