A young woman entrepreneur from Kerala is making waves in the international markets. And that too with a product which is native to Kerala – the virgin coconut oil.
When Archana Millu, a native of Kannur, decided to start a business of her own, she had no second doubts on what it should be.
"I first came across virgin coconut oil in the Gulf. I was amused to notice that several foreigners have one teaspoon of the virgin coconut oil for skin protection and some even use it as a mouth wash. Later, when I thought of starting an enterprise on my own, it was the the virgin coconut oil that popped up in my head," Archana Millu recounts.
She directly procures coconut from the organic farmlands in Kerala, extracts the oil and takes it to the international market as organic extra virgin coconut oil.
Archana completed her education in Ooty and the USA. She was working abroad before she returned to Kochi post her wedding and joined the Vodafone. However, Archana wanted to do something on her own and decided to be an entrepreneur.
"I always aimed for the international market of the virgin coconut oil. That was the biggest challenge too," Archana explains.
Sri Lanka and Philippines owned much of the international market. They were also able to take the virgin coconut oil to the international market at a relatively low rate.
Sri Lanka mostly follows the DME method for extracting coconut oil by roasting freshly husked coconuts. However, Archana extracts coconut oil by separating it from the coconut milk using the cold processing technique.
Coconut oil is rich in the very healthy Lauric acid, a nutrient which is also found in breast milk. Through her technique Archana has been able to preserve all the healthy aspects of the coconut in the oil. This is what gives the upper hand to Archana's Anvi Earth Brand in the global market.
What's in a name?
Archana also pointed out that her brand has also benefited from the fact that it is from Kerala, which literally translates to the land of coconuts. Archana ensures that from the name of the product to labelling and branding, the emphasis is given on highlighting the Kerala factor to woo her customers. She collects the coconuts from the farmlands in Wayanad that have the IMO organic certification. She gives an additional Rs eight for every kilogram of coconut to the farmers. About 4,000 litre of virgin coconut oil has been now taken to the UAE in one batch.
Archana has handed over the contract to process the coconut oil to a unit in north Kerala. She went around visiting various units before she finally chose a unit at Payyoli in Kozhikode. The unit is equipped with good quality centrifuge machines.
More coconut products
The woman entrepreneur is now trying her hand at other coconut products such as the coconut yogurt, which aims to target the vegan public who have forsaken the milk products. Already the market is flooded with yogurts made from soya milk and almond milk.
Soon our local markets too would stock up the various coconut products such as the coconut yogurt and coconut chappati, Archana points out.
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