Stories from the Field

Sumanti’s Rise: from humble farmer to bakery queen

Neha Roba Tirkey

TRI in collaboration with HDFC Parivartan has imparted micro-entrepreneurial training and empowered Sumanti to significantly increase her millet yield and start a successful bakery business.


Married with two children, Sumanti Mundain, a 35-year-old resident of Hutar village in Jharkhand, had dreams bigger than her circumstances. Despite marrying young and leaving formal education behind, ambition simmered within her. Agriculture was their lifeblood, but Sumanti craved more. Then, destiny crossed paths with Kumud Kumari Singh, a village coordinator for Transform Rural India (TRI), a solution design practice for regenerative development, who introduced Sumanti to a world of possibilities.

TRI’s multidimensional work in the block, helping bring equal opportunities to rural India, sparked a fire in Sumanti. She attended many village meetings and training sessions. But it was the agri-entrepreneur’s program she was most drawn to. 

Madua (ragi), the local millet, became her focus. The training introduced her to a biofortified variety, promising higher yields and better nutrition. Filled with hope and an eagerness to work hard, it wasn’t long before Sumanti became a millet farmer.

Armed with a madua kit and expert guidance, Sumanti broke free from traditional methods of farming. Using latest techniques like seed treatment, nursery sowing and transplantation, she transformed her 0.4 acre of land into a luscious green field filled with exuberance. Under the meticulous watchful eye of TRI, she continued nurturing the crop. And when harvest day arrived, Sumanti’s jaw dropped – she had 586 kg of biofortified madua – a staggering leap from the usual 406 kg.

And for Sumanit this wasn’t just food, it was a start to a hopeful future. She also shared the surplus produce with others in the community. 


But Sumanti’s dream extended beyond the fields – she envisioned a culinary revolution. With the help of TRI’s collaboration with HDFC’s Parivartan scheme, by April 2023 she was able to open her bakery, a haven of millet magic.

Ragi, no longer confined to local recipes, transformed under Sumanti’s creativity from madua laddoos, balushahis to shakarparas. Soon, the aroma of her innovation went far and wide, beyond the village, attracting outsiders to come and try her delights. Her rented shop became a stepping stone and within nine months, Sumanti bought the store.

Her bakery generated a revenue of Rs. 127,098, yielding a profit of Rs. 76,258. With an average monthly turnover of Rs. 14,100, Sumanti’s enterprise emerged as a hugely successful venture.


Beyond the financial gains, Sumanti’s journey symbolizes a transformation of spirit. TRI’s interventions not only provided her with resources but instilled a newfound sense of confidence and self-reliance. TRI aims to bring equal opportunities to rural, marginalized communities such that languishing localities are transformed into flourishing communities. Empowered by her enterprise, Sumanti now envisions a future brimming with all kinds of possibilities, where she could contribute to building a better life for herself and her family.

As Sumanti reflects on her journey, she acknowledges TRI’s pivotal role in her metamorphosis. Through her tenacity, grit and the unwavering support of her community, Sumanti emerges as a testament to the transformative power of perseverance and innovation in rural landscapes.


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