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A Visit to Buffalo Back Collective: Driving Sustainable Livelihoods For Women


After my visit to PhysicsWallah Campus, Bangalore had more in store. This time I was enroute to meet an old Rang De Impact partner organisation - The Buffalo Back Collective.

Rang De Social Investors have been instrumental in supporting Self-Help Group (SHG) women by providing loans for various livelihood activities, including animal husbandry, farming, and sericulture.


One such SHG is Mayuri Vanashri Shakti Okkuta, which consists of 24 dedicated women who engage in diverse activities to support their families. They are backed by our Impact partner - Buffalo Back collective


SHG women in bangalore
SHG women in Ujjanappana Doddi, Bangalore


RagiHalli: A Bakery with a Purpose

My first stop was the bakery, where a group of industrious women were busy making ragi laddus, cookies, and ragi chocolates. These women work in the bakery for 8 hours a day, 10-12 days a month, earning a modest income of ₹4-5k per month. 



All the delicious products they create are marketed under the brand name ‘RagiHalli’ and are available for purchase at the Buffalo Back store.



On the day of my visit, a fresh batch of produce was being prepared for dispatch. I had the privilege of speaking with two Rang De investees, Jayamma and Geeta, who shared their experiences with Rang De and the Buffalo Back Collective.


Stories of Empowerment

Jayamma and Geeta have been working at the bakery for the past eight years. Both of them practise sericulture and farming, in addition to their bakery work. They each took a loan of ₹2 lakhs from Rang De, which they have now fully repaid. 





They mentioned that the interest rate from Rang De was 0.80 paise per ₹100, significantly lower than the ₹3-4 per ₹100 charged by local banks. This lower interest rate allowed them to set up sheds for sericulture, buy mulberry saplings to feed the silkworms, invest in irrigation and fertilisers, and even support their children's education. From the worm to cocoon formation, the sericulture process takes about 30 days. 


In a good harvest, they can earn ₹25-30k per month, though summer months yield lower production, bringing in around ₹15k per month.




Jayamma and Geeta repaid their Rang De loan in just 18 months. They emphasised that had they taken a loan from the village, they would have only paid the interest without ever touching the principal amount. The affordable interest rates from Rang De enabled them to repay the loan entirely, a feat they are particularly proud of.


Now, Jayamma and Geeta, along with their SHG, are planning to raise another loan from Rang De for an exciting new project – the Kai Thota Initiative.


The Kai Thota Initiative aims to bring native vegetables back to our plates. The concept is simple yet innovative: people can subscribe to a 1200 sq ft farm plot where they can grow vegetables of their choice from a curated list of 70-75 varieties. Subscribers will receive approximately 7 kg of fresh produce weekly for ₹4500 per month.


One acre farm ready to setup

The SHG women will work on the farm, ensuring the cultivation and care of the crops. They have leased 1 acre of land in Kariyappana Doddi village, an ecologically sensitive area close to the forest. 


They plan to use the Rang De loan to set up the farm with drip irrigation, solar fencing, and cover the working capital costs. The one acre farm can provide 25 families with fresh vegetables. This initiative promotes trust between urban and rural communities, reduces wastage, and supports fair labour for the women farmers.


Until now 964 Rang De Social Investors have supported 11 women from the SHG with ₹19 lakhs in total loan amount. Through Rang De’s continued support, these women are not only improving their livelihoods but also paving the way for a more equitable and environmentally conscious society.


If you’re in Bengaluru and want a personal kitchen garden away from home managed by these diligent women write to weare@buffaloback.in


To invest in women farmers through Rang De and enable affordable credit for their livelihoods, visit rangde.in 



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