Kanika Talukdar, who hails from Barama, Nalbari district, lost her husband at a young age in 2008. Instantaneously she became the sole bread earner of the family and had to look after her four-month-old daughter. The lack of formal education zeroed her employability, and she came across insurmountable difficulties and hardships while managing everything on her own. But as they say, “night is the darkest just before dawn” these adversities were only making her stronger. She did many odd jobs before being landed in a one-day training at a Krishi Vigyan Kendra Nalbari, where she received training on vermicompost production. Incidentally, the movement changed her life forever; with meagre 500 rupees and an indomitable spirit, she started making vermicompost in her backyard.
And as the days passed, she got well-versed with vermicompost production technology, gained substantial knowledge about the business, and formed a company named Jayatu Organics in 2014. She says, “The initial money I earned through selling vermicompost I decided to pump it back into the business instead of spending on household expenses as in the long run if the business grows the investment will come back to me anyways.” Though Kanika managed to study only till matriculation, her impeccable business acumen is evident with her statement. As her business grew, she started getting support from other corners; with the help of the Dept. of Agriculture Assam, she managed to export her produce to different states of the country and other districts of Assam.
Kanika says another turning point came in her life after being selected for an incubation program in North East Agriculture Technology Entrepreneurs Hub (NEATEHUB), the agribusiness incubator of Assam Agricultural University. She joined the incubator in 2019, where she was selected for the two-month-long Agripreneurship Orientation Program (popularly known as Isanya). It was during these two months where her idea of business was curated and refined. Besides, she learned many aspects of the business, including marketing and other legalities; she also converted her business into an LLP (Limited liability Partnership) company and diversified her products. Presently, Jayatu organics have a wide range of products like enriched vermicompost, vermi wash, cocopeat powder, organic fungicide, etc., available in different Assam nurseries. Besides, she has also started taking online orders.
From a financial standpoint, the company has an annual turnover of over 25 to 30 lakhs. Thanks to her incubation in NEATEHUB, she also received pre-seed funding of 5 lakhs from Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana under the RAFTAAR scheme. Kanika is a noted woman entrepreneur of the state. Her efforts are acknowledged with many awards and laurels like the coveted “Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019” conferred by Asom Sangrami Mancha, “Progressive farmer of Nalbari District 2020” given by the Dept of Agriculture Assam.
Her journey from rags to riches is indeed inspirational, and we hope that her story encourages women of the region to take up entrepreneurship as a profession.