Coconut trees, ubiquitous in South Indian states, have long been admired for their ability to keep the environment clean and provide us with a versatile fruit. Their water quenches our thirst, their oil nourishes our skin and hair, and their flavor enriches our cuisine.
Now, a pioneering startup based in Bangalore is capitalizing on the myriad benefits of coconuts to support farmers and women while generating a monthly income of Rs 3 to 4 lakh. Tengin, meaning “coconut” in Kannada, is spearheading a movement that aims to transform coconuts into a sustainable source of livelihood.
The Complete Food:
One of the reasons coconuts are hailed as the greatest food is their inherent versatility. Every part of the coconut serves a purpose, from the fibrous husk to the sturdy shell. Recognizing this potential, Madhu Kargund, a 30-year-old entrepreneur and farmer’s son, established Tengin.
With an impressive array of products such as virgin coconut oil, barfi (a sweet delicacy), soaps, candles, sugar, chips, crockery shells, and coir dishes, Tengin showcases the diverse applications of coconuts.
Supporting Farmers and Women:
Madhu Kargund, driven by his firsthand experience witnessing the hardships faced by farmers, has made it his mission to alleviate their struggles and boost their profitability. He emphasizes that climate change, unpredictable weather patterns, and a lack of support systems pose significant challenges to natural farming. Farmers often lack access to skill development programs, while inadequate market awareness leads to financial losses.
Tengin steps in as a vital link between farmers and the market, creating an avenue for them to convert their coconuts into a consistent source of income. By establishing a robust supply chain, Tengin ensures that the hard work of farmers is adequately rewarded.
The startup purchases coconuts directly from farmers at fair prices, eliminating the need for intermediaries who often exploit them. Through this fair trade approach, Tengin empowers farmers by helping them increase their profitability and sustain their livelihoods.
Tengin has established its presence in 20 stores across Bengaluru and three stores in Mysore. In addition to physical retail outlets, the company has expanded its reach through popular e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Community Farm, and Farmizen. Demonstrating its growth and ambition, Tengin has also ventured into international markets, with recent exports to Singapore. This expansion into the global market signifies the increasing demand and recognition for Tengin’s high-quality coconut products, and positions the company as a significant player in the sustainable agriculture sector.
Tengin’s commitment to empowering women is another hallmark of their operations. The startup actively engages and trains women in the production and manufacturing processes, providing them with employment opportunities and economic independence. By fostering an inclusive and gender-equal work environment, Tengin sets an example for other enterprises to follow.
In line with global efforts to promote sustainability, Tengin prioritizes eco-friendly practices throughout its operations. They ensure minimal waste by utilizing all parts of the coconut in their product range. The extraction of virgin coconut oil is carried out using environmentally friendly methods, and packaging materials are chosen with a focus on recyclability and reducing carbon footprint.
The company’s commitment to preserving the traditional manufacturing methods of their coconut products, highlights that certain technological processes can strip away the essential nutrients present in coconuts, thereby diminishing their nutritional value. To ensure the retention of these vital nutrients, Tengin employs the traditional cold press technology for oil extraction, with packaging carried out by the farmers themselves.
The finished products are centralized in Bengaluru and distributed from there. Additionally, Tengin promotes the empowerment of women by handcrafting candles, soaps, and bowls, providing them with meaningful employment opportunities within the company. This dedication to preserving tradition and supporting local communities sets Tengin apart in their pursuit of delivering high-quality, nutritionally rich coconut-based products.
Tengin’s innovative approach has garnered significant attention and accolades. By transforming coconuts into a lucrative business venture, the startup has not only uplifted farmers and empowered women but has also demonstrated the immense potential for sustainable entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector. Tengin serves as a model for others, showcasing how conscious business practices can create positive social and economic change.
Tengin’s remarkable journey exemplifies the power of innovation, sustainable practices, and social responsibility. Through their wide range of coconut-based products, they have effectively translated goodwill into tangible benefits for farmers and women in South India. As they continue to expand their operations, Tengin is poised to inspire and motivate others to harness the potential of natural resources, strengthen rural communities, and contribute to a greener, more equitable future.
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