VFS microfinance customer making traditional snacks

Rina Saha

Traditional snacks sell well in remote areas

Rina Saha decided to become an entrepreneur late in life, when she was 43, after bringing up two children and marrying off the daughter, 19. Rina had dropped out of school after Class 7 when her family got her married off to a boy just out of his teens, so she did not have much of an education to use.

Rina decided to make dry sweets such as laddoos made of flattened rice, moya (a type of laddoo made of puffed rice), gajas and salty snacks such as “mixture”. She sells packets of ten assorted sweets at a wholesale rate of Rs 7-8 a packet to shops in the area or at the local haats.

Her husband, Kinkar, 53, helps her in the business.

She took her first loan from the Belonia, Tripura, branch of Village Financial Services in May 2019. She used the money to buy the ingredients for her products. With her business having grown, she has to buy ingredients worth at least Rs 20,000 every month. This includes four to five 15-kg tins of cooking oil. She uses her coal chulha to fry and cook her sweets.

Her son has completed his school education and is now looking for a job. Her daughter, 19, is married.

Rina says she earns Rs 500-700 a day. Apart from the cost of the cooking oil, coal and ingredients, she also has to buy packaging material. Rina and her husband work from 10am to 6pm every day, making up to 1,000 units of sweets.  Rina’s husband delivers the products to retail shops and also at the village market.

Rina says the COVID-19 lockdowns have hit her business, and she has slowed down production. She plans to ramp up around the Durga Puja festival. This year, the festival is in the first fortnight of October.

Some of Rina’s neighbours are also in the same business, so competition is stiff.

Published on Jul 14, 2021 | Updated on Apr 13, 2022