Sales of self-help groups (SHGs) selling snacks and savories is witnessing a seasonal spurt ahead of Diwali, discovers Serilda Coutinho
With Diwali around the corner, Goa’s self-help groups (SHG) look all set for a surge in business. Members say that, they are already witnessing higher sales of homemade delicacies such as chakli, churma, nevro, besan ladoo, rava ladoo, makeacho chivda, fenoreo , shankar pali and thikat fav, among others items .
Most SHGs and Mahila Mandals are eying the festival to generate revenue for themselves and to build up the treasury for the year. The average growth in sales could be about 50 percent during the festival month, according to the SHGs. “We get orders are in the range of around 20kg- 40kg for various snacks during the festival. Chakri, besan ladoos and nevros are fast moving items” says Varsha Prakash Naik, secretary, Brahmeshwar SHG based in Baina.
“Festivals are a blessing for our groups as this is the only time we make some profit and can divide the commission among our members . The slack sales during the rest of the year leave us with no profit margin. During the off season most of the revenue earned goes in covering up the cost incurred on preparing the food items and maintaining the premises” says Geeta Faterpekar, president, All India women’s conference. The group sells food items within the premises of Menezes Braganza Building since 1987.
It is a similar opinion from Naik, who says that, for a group of 2-3 members involved in the preparation of the food items, profit generated is around Rs 5,000- Rs 6,000.
Most city residents who have a nuclear family setup and lack helping hands at home prefer to place a prior order with local SHGs. Check out reveals that, most of them are geared to cater to bulk orders. Members also come up with their own signature food item to avoid clash with the products already available for sale within the group. Explaining this strategy Faterpekar says, “Every new member that joins our group is encouraged to introduce a new item to diversify the variety available to customers. The items are tasted by the senior members during the monthly meet of the members and based on the quantity we help them decide to the price of the product.”
Apart from generating sales through display at their outlets many SHGs also cater to orders only at their residence. “Most of our members are working women and we do not have time for over the counter sales. So we prefer to take up orders only at our residences” says Nirmala Naik who heads a SHG in Ponda.
While Jyoti Masurkar who heads the Mahalaxmi Mahila Mandal, St Inez also takes up prior orders and home-delivery for convenience of customers during the hectic festival days. She explains, “We make only on order basis as the shelf- life of many of the products is mostly one day and the group will go in loss if the sweets remain stocked up”.
In Goa there are several SHG’s also engaged in providing mid-day meal to government schools and so Diwali orders are taken up only once the schools close for the break. Sugandha Borkar, president, Tulshimata Pandurang Mahila Mandal, Taleigao who is a part of the SHG from the past 10 years , points out that preparation starts four-five days prior to the festival, while the ingredients are stocked well in advance owing to the high demand during the festive season. “Rs 10,000 spent on the ingredients can easily draw a profit of around Rs20, 000 as the orders placed are usually in bulk,” she explains.
Apart from taking up orders at home some of these groups also put up stalls at public places to channelize the rush for homemade goodies. Devika Kalangutkar who heads the Om Sateri SHG in Merces, starts gearing up for Diwali orders from the end of October. “All our members get together and prepare the items at one place as this helps us in maintaining the quality and deciding the pricing of the products.”
The group displays an array of healthy snacking options for health conscious buyers such as ragi and jaggery ladoos, moong ladoos and churma at the Caculo Mall from the past two years. “At the mall prices of the food items can be hiked giving us a better profit margin as high end buyers can afford to spend extra on our products. Regular customers make it a point to visit the mall during Diwali to patronize our stall.” She further adds, “We rope in members from other SHG groups in Merces to provide them an opportunity to earn as well as to cater to the bulk orders in time”.