Lavender, grapes and Tankapaani

A lavender entrepreneur who built her business with a personal loan, a young farmer harvesting 30 tonnes of grapes per acre, an all-women group that has branded Tankapaani and Tanetar Fair where women choose their husbands are all part of this newsletter

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
black seedless grapes

Lavender, grapes and Tankapaani

Dear Reader, 

Before colas and fizzy drinks took over our lives, every family used to prepare its own traditional drinks, especially in summer. From aam panna and sattu sharbat to tanka torani and gondhoraj ghol, India’s traditional drink repertoire is full of variety, seasonality and good health. 

A group of women in Odisha’s Mahanga block has given a new identity to the state’s rice-based drink Tankapaani (also Tanka pani) by packaging and branding it as Bou (meaning mother in Odia). Since convenience is the biggest draw for fizzy drinks, the Shanti Producer Group (SPG) launched it in bottles and the popularity is soaring across coastal Odisha. 

Now, they plan to sell 50 lakh litres of Tankapaani during the Ratha Yatra beginning July 7, writes my colleague Niroj. After the successful launch and quick growth last year, Odisha Rural Development and Marketing Society (ORMAS) helped them set up a bigger plant to produce 40,000 litres daily. It has not only empowered 55 women but also popularized a nutritive drink.

From Kashmir, my colleague Sameer wrote about Rubeena Tabassum, a hardworking woman who was denied a business loan because banks did not believe in the potential of her business – cultivating and selling cut flowers like carnations and lilies.

She took a personal loan at a much higher interest rate, succeeded in selling her flowers up to Delhi, and then took a barren land on lease. Today, Rubeena has a profitable lavender farm on that land and earns Rs1 crore in annual revenues. Her success mantra has been detailed in the story.

Last week, I spoke to a 27-year-old farmer who harvests 30 tonnes of grapes per acre, which is more than three times the national average of 9 tonnes per acre. Karthik Gowda had to drop out of engineering after his uncle’s demise to help his father. He uses the grafting method for grape farming over 6 acres in Hoskote near Bengaluru. He grows three varieties and his per acre income is Rs15 lakh!

June 17 is observed as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought Day. Prof Shyam Sunder Jyani, the visionary behind the Familial Forestry initiative, which won the UNCCD Land for Life Award in 2021, wrote a column for us. Under the Familial Forestry initiative, 2 million families in Rajasthan have planted 4 million saplings and successfully overcame desertification and drought. Do read this informative piece on how communities can protect and revitalize natural ecosystems

We also put together a web story on Prachi Seksaria, a young entrepreneur who set up a Rs1.2 crore handcrafted saree business with just Rs 2 lakh investment. 

Our Sunday story is on Gujarat’s Tarnetar Fair, where tribal youngsters choose their spouses like Draupadi’s swayamvar. Tarnetar is said to be the place where Arjuna pierced the eye of a moving fish to marry Draupadi. At the annual mela, women choose their grooms based on guess what? The beauty of the umbrellas that the men handcraft! 

Happy Reading!




Odisha’s all-women group brands traditional drink ‘Tankapaani’ as Bou; plans to sell 50 lakh litres during Ratha Yatra


Kashmiri woman turns barren land into lavender farm; clocks Rs1 crore annual revenues


27-year-old farmer earns Rs15 lakh per acre with grape farming; harvests 30 tonnes per acre


Our Land, Our Future: Embracing Cooperative Environmentalism through Familial Forestry