The Plight Of Women During 2013 Floods Inspired Nidhi Pant To Start DesiVDesi Foods
- IWB Post
- August 18, 2019
A social entrepreneur who believes in the power of the seed is Nidhi Pant, the young, vibrant and a socially woke woman, who is one of the co-founders of DesiVDesi, which procures sun-dried produce from farmers and processes it to serve healthy snacks.
At a time when most people her age are more interested in their own social media life, 24-year-old Nidhi is passionate about developing the society at large. She loves to talk about farming, its challenges, the effect on the economy, its future and everything else.
Excerpts from an interview:
Let’s start by talking about how you started out.
I was in college when I met one of my seniors, who is now one of the co-founders of the company and we started by identifying the gaps that are there in the rural market, starting from post harvesting to providing market linkage to the farmers. Another thing that pushed me towards this idea was that I wanted to provide an alternative option for snacks made of maida and sugar.
In an interview, you had mentioned that your focus is on providing permanent solutions rather than addressing just the symptoms. Tell us about how you do this.
Most of the solutions are aimed towards how to reduce food wastage, but our objective is to prevent food wastage. That is where our technology comes into the picture, where we work at the farm level processing. Also, if you look at the consumer end, you never know what you’re eating. So there is a transparency issue in the food industry, which we have continually been trying to address.
What is the benefit the farmer gains through the S4S technology? How does it help in reducing wastage of food?
The problem is that the cost of transporting is higher than the value of the produce. So one thing we do is that we give a farmer a proper market. The transportation cost is one thing we try to address. Secondly, we provide some employment for women who are taught to operate the dehydrating machinery and can earn extra income. And since it is a solar powered machine, it is good for the environment.
Tell us about your inspiration for starting DesiVDesi.
I have always felt strongly about being involved in the development sector. It was during the 2013 floods, I was volunteering for rehabilitation at my native place, and I learned that women are the ones most affected by such calamities. So empowering them gives them the courage and will-power to work harder for their families. Their ability to bind the family together, nourish and nurture them, and at the same time – given the right opportunities – being able to stand on their own, has always left me spellbound, and that was my inspiration to start my own venture.
As an urban dwelling entrepreneur, tell me one incident when you’ve felt deeply for the land which provides for us, as an outsider?
I was always apprehensive because I don’t speak the dialect, I don’t dress like them. But they have never judged me or treated me like an outsider. They have always welcomed me, and they personify the concept of Atithi Devo Bhav: they have been more than accepting of me and whatever ideas I introduce to them. They completely trust me, so I feel more responsibility towards them.
Finally, any rural woman you have come across, whom you consider to be your inspiration?
Chetna Gala Sinha, MannDeshi foundation, and Dr Rani Bang.