More opportunity for local entrepreneurs

More opportunity for local entrepreneurs
More opportunity for local entrepreneurs

July 2008; A micro-enterprise involved in making plum jam has been thriving in Tukucha village of Kavrepalachowk district. Supported by a grant and technical assistance from the UNDP Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP), the enterprise has been involved in producing fresh jam from the plentiful plum that grow in the area during the summer.

The jam making enterprise is led by Uddhav Giri, 35, chair of the jam makers group, and Lal Chandra Giri, 35, in a group comprising six women and five men. The duo and their fellow group members are primarily dependent on agriculture for their income but saw opportunities to improve their income by starting the jam-making enterprise when they were put in touch with MEDEP by a social mobiliser.

After receiving a MEDEP grant of Rs. 40,000 to buy a juicer machine and other necessary equipment, and with a training on entrepreneurship, the group produced 800 litres of pulp during the first year of operation, and another 1,200 litres since early 2008. This has translated into Rs. 88,000 worth of sales, resulting in a net profit of about Rs.53,000 over a period of one year.

The enterprise is now self-sustaining, but continues to seek and receive guidance and occasional assistance from MEDEP. Requests for such assistance are made at the monthly meetings of the Micro Enterprise Group -(MEG), a larger Micro Enterprise Group Association (MEGA), and a District MEGA (DMEGA).

Uddhav Giri says, 'The MEDEP grant and technical assistance to start the jam making venture has helped raise the quality of life for the villagers as well as for my family. This additional income is especially useful when the harvest for crops is bad.'

Most of the jam produced is sold in Dhulikhel, Banepa and Kathmandu with a smaller quantity being retailed locally. A 500gm jar of jam retails at Rs.65. The enterprise also caters to large-scale purchasers of the jam such as military barracks and schools.

The two major challenges, the group now faces are; the safe storage of ripe plum picked in the summer in large containers to allow jam making throughout the year, and the registering the brand name with the Cottage and Small Industries Office in order to maintain the proprietary rights and to secure the trust of the consumers in the brand.