This businesswoman from Nagpur is breaking all business related stereotypes in the male dominant export business. With her knowledge, experience and a no-nonsense attitude at work, Sonali Loharikar has become Nagpur’s first businesswoman exporter.
Even though the orange business in Nagpur is still taking baby steps, Loharikar has ventured into this challenging field. Early on Friday morning, her first consignment of a tonne of oranges reached Dubai by an Air Arabia flight. Within half an hour, the entire lot was bought by local traders and Loharikar even received her second export order.
She, along with her partner Nitesh Murudkar is exporting oranges through her firm SDF Productions Pvt. Ltd. Given her experience in exporting vegetables from India to Dubai, Loharikar feels confident about her new venture.
Loharikar was based in Dubai for about 15 years and carried out her vegetable export business from there, exporting vegetables from all across Maharashtra. Two years ago, she had to move back to Nagpur because of her husband’s illness. Unfortunately, her husband passed away following his illness and Loharikar shifted to Mumbai for business. For the last two years, she has been exporting vegetables sourced from Vidarbha and other parts of Maharashtra.
Loharikar decided to get into the orange exporting business when she found out that Maha Orange, APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority), and MSAMB (Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board) were looking for orange exporters.
While talking to TOI, she said, “I know the Dubai market, or in fact the UAE market well. I contacted my clients there and got a very good response from them. Hence, I have decided to export oranges on a regular basis. There is lot of risk involved since oranges are a highly perishable fruit. Though this was a trial consignment, it was worth taking the risk.”
In order for the orange export market to develop, Loharikar too, like other exporters, expects some support from the state government. The importer gives us money only in 30 days. Till then our money is blocked. If the government allows bank loans for this, it would be of great help. Otherwise too, the business is of volumes and not cost,” she told TOI.
Information and cover images sourced from timesofindia