Organic pomegranates and Himalayan coolers

A retired IRS officer growing organic pomegranates in Andhra, a mother-daughter duo selling handmade preserves, coolers, and more from the Himalayas, Odisha's tribal women micro-entrepreneurs, and Sidhpur's abandoned mansions are part of this newsletter

Rashmi Pratap
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organic coolers

Organic pomegranates and Himalayan coolers

Dear Reader,

When it comes to retirement from work, I see two types of people. One is our young generation that dreams of amassing enough wealth to retire in their 40s, and the other is the older generation, in their 50s or 60s, that keeps planning what they will do after retirement. The youngsters are mostly people who have burned themselves out too soon. The elderlies have lived a more balanced life and are eager to continue some work in their twilight years.

My colleague Aruna spoke to one such person last week. Muttuluri Narasimhappa is a retired officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS). At 74, he manages a farm and nursery of pomegranates in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. With organic farming, the dynamic farmer cultivates some of India’s best-quality fruits, which are exported as well. 

He had a gross income of Rs1 crore in the last year. But that’s not all. Narasimhappa has been responsible for several developmental activities in his village including construction of roads, post office, water supply through taps, better schooling for girls, and more. His story tells us that retirement is nothing but a state of mind. 

Somewhat similar is the case of Indira Chowfin, who makes artisanal preserves, sauces, coolers, chutneys and other items with her daughter Divya in Pauri, Uttarakhand. After Indira’s husband, who looked after their 40-acre jungle farm, passed away in 2014, the mother-daughter duo did not know how to use the farm’s natural produce like strawberries, plums, peaches etc. as they did not get the right rates in the local market, Divya told me.

Well-versed with handcrafting preservative-free items, Indira donned the chef’s hat and their startup Himalayan Haat now supplies their handmade food products across India. They employ local women who need a consistent income to support their households. In all, a win-win for all!

My colleague Niroj wrote about the rise of tribal micro-entrepreneurs in Odisha’s remote Nabarangpur district. For ages, tribal women have been making plates using the leaves of siali creepers. However, they stitched them manually and were also exploited by middlemen who paid them a pittance. 

With hand-holding by the local administration, the women are now using machines to make biodegradable siali leaf plates which are replacing plastic. Much sought after in India and overseas, these leaf plates are creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for thousands of tribal women.

Our Sunday story is on the beautiful but abandoned mansions of Sidhpur, Gujarat, built by the wealthy Dawoodi Bohra community in the bygone centuries. 

In the Money section, my colleague Karan has written about Balanced Advantage Funds (BAFs), which are a safer option for risk-averse equity investors who worry about high valuations and downside risks. He has listed the top five BAFs for investment right now.

Happy Reading!




74-year-old retired IRS officer finds his passion in organic pomegranate farming


How this mother-daughter duo built a farm-to-table startup in the Himalayas


Odisha’s tribal women stitch a bright future with siali leaf plates


The abandoned mansions of Sidhpur