Vermicompost Millionaire and Meads

Our newsletter this week will take you to the Devil's Kitchen (near Kodaikanal), a meadery run by two women entrepreneurs in Nashik and to the unit of a vermicompost millionaire in Assam

Rashmi Pratap
New Update
cerana meads sinnar plant

Vermicompost Millionaire and Meads

Dear Reader,

Have you ever thought of starting a business with an investment of Rs500 and then becoming a millionaire within a few years? It sounds like a dream. Right? But this is the story of Assam’s Kanika Talukdar, who was widowed when she was just 27.

With a four-month-old daughter in her hands, and having studied only till class 10, there were almost no job opportunities available to her. She gathered herself and learned to make vermicompost – an organic manure. Living in poverty, she invested Rs500 to prepare the first batch of manure in her handmade bamboo structure in 2014. The manure sold for Rs8,000 in the local market. And there was no looking back.

Today, Kanika earns Rs3.5 lakh to Rs4 lakh per month from her products, which are sold across India, writes my colleague Riya. Kanika trains others in vermicomposting and is a role model for hundreds of women around her, including her daughter. Kudos to her indomitable spirit!

From Maharashtra, we have a story on meads. Have you heard of meads or tasted any? Mead is a honey-based wine and there is little awareness about the category in India right now. But this did not deter two friends -- Dr Yoginee Budhkar and Dr Ashwini Deore – from taking up mead-making in Nashik – The Wine Capital of India.

The two women are among the handful of entrepreneurs making meads in India right now. What began as an experiment in Yoginee’s kitchen in 2013 is today a sustainable alcoholic beverage startup growing by 250 percent annually, writes my colleague Mona. How they overcame various challenges, including regulatory issues, is part of the story. Do look it up.

From Madurai, my colleague Anu has written on Madurai Seed, which provides education, life skills and personality development avenues to children of labourers, scavengers and other underprivileged sections of society. Its founder A S Karthikbharathi was also a child labourer and completed his studies with a lot of difficulties. He, however, decided to make things easier for others like him.

The NGO has so far helped educate over 1,000 underprivileged children under its ‘school after school’ model offering zero-fee education. The students who reach college, volunteer to teach the younger ones and are paid a stipend. Through its work, Madurai Seed has managed to break the inter-generational cycle of scavenging in the Karumbalai area. These heart-warming stories from the nooks and corners of India reiterate my faith in the goodness of humanity.

Our Sunday piece is on the Devil’s Kitchen in Tamil Nadu. No, it’s not where the devil cooks its meals! It’s a group of caves on the outskirts of Kodaikanal.

Happy Reading!





How this Assam woman earns Rs3.5 lakh per month through vermicompost


Cerana Meads: How two women entrepreneurs set up one of India’s first meaderies in Nashik


Madurai Seed’s zero-fee education gives a bright future to underprivileged children