Rajesh Oza, a native of Bera village in Rajasthan, would often observe tribal communities picking fruits from the trees and then rushing to sell the fruit before it got spoilt.

In 2017, he along with his wife Pooja decided to start a venture ‘Jovaki’ that would ensure the fruits lasted long and the tribal women could earn a living.

Though harvest was a time for celebration, the lack of a streamlined process meant that despite good produce, much of it would get wasted.

“We noticed the tribals could not find buyers for these huge amounts of fruit,” says Pooja adding that here they spotted an opportunity.

“Processing of these fruits would help the tribal people fetch better prices for their produce,” she says.

But gaining the trust of the communities was not easy and Rajesh had to prove he could get them profits before they began believing him.

Additionally, to help the tribal women earn more, Rajesh says, “We wanted to lessen the burden on the women who would otherwise have to walk for miles and sell their produce at low rates.”

So, Rajesh started a B2C arm called ‘Tribalveda’ in October 2021 that would enable the tribal communities to earn well by selling products made out of processed jamun fruit.

Rajesh says the reason for choosing jamun was because Ayurveda says this fruit is a storehouse of nutrients and helps in weight management and heart health.

While jamun is only available for around 20 days a year, through Tribalveda, the fruit can be enjoyed all year round.

Today, Jovaki Agro Foods India Private Limited is the source of livelihood for more than 1,000 tribal families, says Rajesh.

“Earlier, the women would earn around Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 in a year. Now during season time, they earn an additional Rs 15,000 per month,” Rajesh notes.

In addition, Rajesh says the previous financial year saw them amassing a turnover of Rs 1.67 crore. Of the total profits earned, 60 percent goes to women, Pooja adds.