There is always a good market for traditional products based on native knowledge. Such products are gaining in popularity not only in Kerala but also in other states and abroad. The story of R Krishnakumar, a native of Eruthempathy in Palakkad is that of an entrepreneur who realised the potential of such products and is now reaping success. His venture is called Navayug Extractions.
Virgin coconut oil is good for children to consume and apply to the body. It is rich in lauric acid, which is found in breast milk.
The sales are concentrated around Ayurvedic/English medical shops and supermarkets. The 'Viola' branded product is exported outside Kerala, too, to cities like Delhi and Chennai and even Gulf countries. It is delivered to all parts of the state as per the order. For long distance orders, it is sent through parcel service.
He is now collaborating with some online giants to get active in marketing the product online as well. He is getting a lot of orders even amid the COVID pandemic.
At present, 500 coconuts are used to produce oil a day. He sells the oil at a price of Rs 520 per litre. The business has a turnover of at least Rs 3,50,000 per month.
Machinery worth Rs 60,000
The venture involves a total investment of Rs 60,000 on machinery. These include coconut extractor, coconut pressing machine, room heater and utensils. Raw coconuts are collected from farms. After removing the coir, the coconuts are cleaned and scraped. Then the first milk is taken with the help of a pressing machine. It is then put in a vessel and left open for eight hours in a room heated to 50–70 degree Celsius.
After fermentation (oil, sediments and protein are separated), the protein is removed and the oil is stored. This is filtered three times with medical cotton. Then it is heated in a big uruli (a traditional cooking vessel used in Kerala) to up to 60 degrees. After it cools, it is bottled and sold.
Hot processed coconut oil (vendha velichenna) made by heating coconut milk in uruli and the traditional coconut oil obtained from copra are also produced.
Krishnakumar is a mechanical engineer. He has four employees, with one of them focussing on marketing. The venture is operating with very little capital.
To double the sales from current levels
Promote virgin coconut oil internationally
Set up a new plant
Advice for new entrepreneurs
It is a good eco-friendly product that has got great potential in the market. It can be started with a small investment. Attention must be paid to the manufacturing process. This venture needs just Rs 50,000 and two workers to start. Even with a monthly turnover of Rs 2 lakh in the initial phase, a net profit of Rs 40,000 can be made.
Why this venture?
In Palakkad district, raw coconut is available in large quantities at low prices. I am able to make use of that.
It is a product that is traditional, free of side effects and without any mixed chemicals.
I had wanted to start my own business that had less competition.
I experimented making hot processed coconut oil on my own and it became successful. Also, it is approved by the Coconut Development Board.
It also allows you to do it as a part-time business or a full-time business.