Mrs N Memi Devi, (45) a woman entrepreneur who runs Mangal pickles, is among the promising women entrepreneurs of Manipur. Her industry is distinctively transforming the luscious seasonal fruits and vegetables locally available in the state into a new zest of taste in the form of pickles, fruit candies. The success story of her food processing industry was not scripted overnight but it was developed after prolonged hard work and struggle.
Located at Haobam Marak Chingtham Leikai in the capital city Imphal, Mangal pickle is a small scale food processing industry aiming big. The small industry prepares a wide array of pickles and candies with the locally available fruits like Wild Apple Candy; Amla (Indian gooseberry); Olive (Chorfon); Plum (Heikha); Mange-Ball (Tamarind); Heibung, Heining, , Heimang.
Memi procures most of the raw materials of her factory from market, she purchased Gooseberries in bulk from the market at a whole sale rate of Rs 600 to 700 per bag. The raw fruits are brought by tribal woman from the hill areas.
Beginning of the business venture
Earlier, she had no knowledge about preparation of pickles and candies. However, her skill in food processing developed after she underwent month long training course on food processing conducted by District Industries centre Imphal east. She was highly motivated to start her own business after attending the training. Initially, she had no enough money to start with her business.
With some amount of money borrowed from friends and relatives, she initiated her Mangal pickles Industry.
Mother of three kids, Memi said that she can fetch a monthly income of about Rs 10000 to 15000 at the average after taking up the job. Heikru (gooseberries) and Heitup pickles are the best sales among her products.
She can support family comfortably
He husband Kunjabi works as an assistant teacher in a Government Aided school. It was hard to maintain the family with the meager income of her husband from his job. As such, Memi was always thinking about ways to earn for her family. Finally, she decided to initiate food processing industry, Memi claimed and added that she can help her family income now with her business comfortably including expenses on sending her kids to school.
“Our business is dependent mostly on power supply, transportation etc. But, we sometimes face economic blockades for days. For our business we need to stock all our required seasonal fruits and vegetables to bridge the demand-supply gap, she said.
She further added that she initiated the business without any support from any government agency to widen her business horizon, although they have sought help to some agencies concerned.
She runs the industry with unflinching support from her husband in financial and market matters. She also admitted that the moral support of her husband and other family members is also very important factor in running her business successfully.
The ‘Mangal pickle’ products manufactures by her industry are mainly supplied to local schools, canteens and local retail outlets.
Marketing is another problem which the local entrepreneurs of Manipur usually experience in their business venture. Even as the entrepreneurs are manufacturing varieties of food items, beverages, products of handloom and handicraft etc., their scope of market is limited due to lack of proper market place thereby disheartening them at times. Most importantly, local support to make in Manipur products is very poor. Encouragement to local products will help state economy, part from creating more employment avenues, she observed.
Future road map
Revealing the future road map to market, she said, “as we are in infant stage, our brand can occupy little space in local market. But we are planning to expand the retails and distribution networks in the state. Besides, we also dream to make avail our products to all the major towns and cities of NE states of India.
“We also accept costumer feedbacks and comments about our products. We manufacture the products according to choice and demand of the costumers. I have got some complaints from the costumers about packaging. As they suggest to improve packaging, I am planning to install a packaging machine shortly”, she maintained.
By dint of her hard work and dedication, Mangal pickles have now been among the success brands in the state with a good monthly turnover. Memi has been able to provide employment to some women of her locality. The women workers are engaged for packaging, washing and slicing the raw fruits. For this, she pays wages to the workers on daily basis. Working in Memi’s small industry has helped the local women to maintain their family income to some extent, she claimed.
“Although the present turnover of the company is not satisfactory, but we can sustain ourselves to some extent. We want to expand business to provide more jobs to many jobless ”, she said.
For survival, we have to struggle and earn. We need to create self employment so that we should not economically rely to others. What the industrially backward state like Manipur requires is cultivation of work culture and coming out of many entrepreneurs. Appealing to the younger generation, she said, “ we should not wait for only government jobs, but to look out for other alternative ways for earning”.