’We Turn ‘Spoilt’ Crop Into Profits’: Startup Helps Women Farmers Become Breadwinners

In every farming, it might be fruits, vegetables, or any other crop, there will be a wastage of crop, if we can see the statistics in India, 40 percent of the crop is wasted, from the produce, because of a fragmented, and unorganized supply chain.

Due to this wastage, many farmers are pushed into poverty. But look into the story of a woman Nidhi Pant from Uttarakhand, who started a food processing platform, to not produce any waste for farmers. Meet her by looking into the article, completely, and knowing the story of her.

Story of Nidhi Pant on How She Started a Agri Tech Startup To Help Farmers

This is the story of Nidhi Pant Who is a co-founder of S4S Technologies, from Uttarakhand, Who started an agri-tech startup for women farmers, along with her six friends. Below is the complete story of her, how she started, and everything.

  • Nidhi Pant is a chemical engineer who came from a farming background. As she is from that background, she can understand the difficulties and challenges that are being faced by farmers.
  • And she grew by seeing her father who is a farmer later turned into a scientist and by seeing him, she was inspired by him.
  • She always says that her parents taught her that they should always rise by lifting others.
  • Since her young age, she always used to see Uttarakhand as it is a place that is destabilized in geography.
  • And, Uttarakhand people always face many natural calamities like floods and landslides which will spoil the crops.
  • From a young age, when natural calamities occurred, she used to help in rebuilding communities and after completing her studies, as a chemical engineer, she wanted to help their people, especially women.
  • And she has seen three big problems among the farmers which are food wastage in farming, gender inequality among rural women farmers, and poverty among smallholder farmers.
  • Based on these three reasons, Nidhi Pant wanted to start a company with her six other friends.
  • By using her Scientific knowledge, and new-age technologies, in 2013, she started the startup company along with her six college friends.
  • This company works with the patented solar food-processing system that helps waste food into good food.

How This Agri Tech Startup (S4S Technologies) Works

Women Farmers Became Breadwinners To Their Family By S4S Technologies

As we have seen the family and educational background of Nidhi Pant, now we will see how this S4S technologies work and the main aim of this agri-tech startup is provided below.

  • As we already pointed out a huge problem of food wastage in farming, Nidhi wanted to make the losses into profit too.
  • And if we look at the agricultural sector, 80% of employees are women.
  • So, Nidhi wanted to give women employment to reduce their poverty, like when S4S technologies started.
  • The main aim of this company is it be a food processing company it works with women farmers and equips them to become entrepreneurs by processing agricultural produce.
  • Complete processing in this company is done through solar solar-powered dehydration system, with a solar conduction dryer.
  • Women collect the cosmetically damaged produce from the women farmers and then they give it to the women Micro entrepreneurs, who are the persons who use solar-powered food processing systems to dehydrate the produce to make them value-added products.
  • If you want to know clearly, women take tomatoes from women farmers, and they process them and convert them into tomato powder, onions into onion powder like that.
  • Within 6-8 hours the dehydration process will be done without adding any chemicals.
  • Keeping their color, aroma, and taste as same as normal ones, they are producing nonperishable items.

Company Faced Challenges During Pandemic

In the pandemic, as everyone was struggling, S4S technologies also faced many struggles, and Nidhi explained how they faced the challenges and how they built up everything.

  • During the pandemic, everyone is struggling with the liveDrying Partner Programme.
  • Also, the company faced a lack of storage facilities, as there is limited transportation and distinct markets.
  • Even with reverse migration, most villagers were in need of livelihood-generating opportunities at the village level.
  • Now, presently the food is supplied and packaged to food and beverage industries for the top companies including the Indian Railways and Sodexo.

Success and Awards That Was Given To Nidhi Pant

For her efforts, Nidhi has received many awards, some of which are given below.

  • Women Transforming India Awards by NITI Aayog and United Nations (UN).
  • Cisco Youth Leadership Award 2022 by Global Citizen & CISCO.
  • Unilever Young Entrepreneur Award 2019 by Unilever.
  • The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

Key Outcomes

Nidhi was very much satisfied with her work as it transformed the lives of rural women. Even Nidhi says that the woman who is successfully doing their job was initially very less confident, and they even don’t speak much but today they are in leadership roles, and have become decision-makers in the family.

And even some of them are breadwinners in their family. Pant even says that “ The financial success of the company is tied to the success of our micro-entrepreneurs”. Today Nidhi has changed the lives of the 800 women farmers.

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