Stories

This food scientist is helping women in a Uttarakhand district to become entrepreneurs

Most often, dedicated government employees are not given their due. The red tape, bureaucracy surrounding government work has tainted entire departments, bracketing employees under one umbrella – as inefficient and corrupt.
Despite this, it’s important to note that from district employees to Central ministries, Government employees form a crucial link in the development of the country.

One such enterprising woman is Kirti Kumari, a food scientist and subject matter expert at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), in Tehri Garhwal district in Uttarakhand.
A social nutrition activist and nutritional counsellor, Kirti has trained over 1,000 women in food processing, created self-help groups (SHGs) and turned them into food entrepreneurs. The 28-year-old joined the KVK in 2013 and has taken nearly seven years to nurture the district’s women farmers and turn them into entrepreneurs. Apart from the KVK, she is also a lecturer at the VCSG Uttarakhand University of Horticulture and Forestry in Tehri Garhwal.

Kirti Kumari, food scientist and Uttarakhand’s ambassador of Beti Padhao Beti Bachao..

Story Of Food Scientist Kriti Singh

One such enterprising woman is Kirti Kumari, a food scientist and subject matter expert at Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), in Tehri Garhwal district in Uttarakhand. 
A social nutrition activist and nutritional counsellor, Kirti has trained over 1,000 women in food processing, created self-help groups (SHGs) and turned them into food entrepreneurs.The 28-year-old joined the KVK in 2013 and has taken nearly seven years to nurture the district’s women farmers and turn them into entrepreneurs. Apart from the KVK, she is also a lecturer at the VCSG Uttarakhand University of Horticulture and Forestry in Tehri Garhwal.
Kirti also revived inactive SHGs and cooperative societies that were part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission and sought help from local NGOs to create more SHGs. Armed with an MTech in Processing and Food Engineering and a BTech in Food Technology, Kirti saw the scope for creation of food processing activities in the state.

She says that with current food trends like organic foods, Uttarakhand has a huge potential because most of the farming in the state is free of insecticides and pesticides making it ideal for organic products.

Empowering women and promoting indigenous crops

At least 80 percent of farmers in the hilly terrains of Uttarakhand are women. After shifting from Rajasthan to Uttarakhand for the job, Kirti took three years to understand and explore ways to help farmers in the region.

Kirti Kumar (one with the ladle) teaching women from self-help groups.

she also wants consumers to understand the nutritional benefits of the food.

Kirti saw the scope for creation of food processing activities in the state.

Small initiatives, big results

In recognition of her activities promoting women’s empowerment and nutrition, Kirti was appointed as the state’s ambassador for the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme on January 26, 2020.
To help the cause, she has taken initiatives along with district administration to change the name plates of houses from fathers’ names to include the names of daughters. She is involved in multiple initiatives, from breastfeeding to promoting girls’ education.
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The block-level processing units that Kirti set up have now led to the establishment of a food processing industry in Tehri with the government investing Rs 1 crore to set up two mechanised growth centres.
The inauguration of these centres is stalled due to the lockdown. With the government buying these products, the local crops are now household favourites, especially in rural families which have seen an improvement in nutrition levels.

Kriti Singh Food Scientist

“When I came to the region in 2013, the crops were of very good quality fruit and vegetables to even millets, which the government has declared as ‘miracle grains’. With such good crops, the people here were not able to bring out value-added products to the market because of a lack of knowledge and technical know-how. So, I started to work in this direction and created SHGs.”

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