Achumi said she envisaged setting up a meat processing business in the state while she was a student in Delhi after she noticed that non-vegetarian processed food were easily available in the market, while it was not so in Nagaland though Nagas are known for their love of meat.
With Nagas’ food habit changing drastically over the years, Jemima felt the demand for meat in the market has also increased.
“There is an urgent need to frame the right strategy for the development of meat and poultry production in our state which will certainly bring prosperity as well as it will give employment opportunities” said Achumi.
She said the standard of the people in the state were moving on the fast lane and to keep pace with this trend, believed processed meat would be an ideal choice as it takes less time to prepare.
Here is an excerpt from the interview with YouthNet….
What prompted you to start the venture?
I come from a business class family of eight siblings born to Tovishe Achumi and Viholi Achumi of Aotsakili hailing from the Sumi Tribe.
It was always within me to become an entrepreneur someday though my parents initially wanted me to join the administration stream.
After schooling I moved out of the State to Delhi to pursue my graduation in sociology from Delhi University.
During my stay in Delhi, I saw the rise of demand in processed meat and consumers were getting more and more inclined towards it.
Realizing that a place like Nagaland or North East India has a major population of non-vegetarians, I was very positive that a meat processing unit would take off well and hence I started toying with the idea.
I researched for two years during which I met many entrepreneurs from all over India and with the encouragement and guidance of few this dream finally came true in October 2011.
About TJ Foods/Jemmeez:
We operate under the unit name of T.J. Foods and we manufacture and distribute our processed meat products (brand name Jemmeez) to our market in and around Nagaland.
This venture has given me the opportunity to employ female workers and it gives me great satisfaction that I can help our womenfolk in a small way.
What difficulties did you face during the setting up and running of the business:
To start off a venture like this was not very easy because setting up even the most basic food processing unit is a difficult task.
The financial aspect posed as a huge challenge as the investment were high but fortunately my family were able to provide me the financial assistance to start off.
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries India does provide various subsidies to entrepreneurs, however, the procedures to avail these are lengthy and time consuming and so while I pursued to seek the Government’s help, I decided to start my venture with whatever financial help I had in hand.
In this business, there are less off-takes and more wastage of the raw material (meat) which becomes problematic when it comes to pricing it right.
Also the raw materials, like ‘local pork’ for our pork products, are not very easily available in the market so we bring it in from Assam every day.
The electricity problem in our State also makes it very difficult to run these kind of industries where everything is electrically operated. If all these problems can be solved, this industry can flourish smoothly.
Secret to success:
I believe, there is no end to success and to achieve the goals we need faith in ourselves, dedication, hard work, patience and focus.
Products and customer base:
One thing I learnt about our Naga fellowman is that we always tend to think that products which come from outside are always better than the ones produced in own state or the standards do not match up.
As long as our own people have this mentality, it is difficult for entrepreneurs from our state to operate businesses such as this.
While this is not very encouraging but I’ve made it a point to ensure people tasted our products before judging it and I’m happy to say that after trying our products, many critics have only good things to say about it.
We deal with processed meat which compromises of three kind of sausages, i.e. breakfast/plain sausage, frankfurters, cocktail (ethnic style) etc.
Salamis come in plain and paprika and we have Ham as well. We are also the only manufacturer of Vacuum Packed Chinese Sausages in India.
All our products are available in Chicken, Pork and Beef. We ship in the best ingredients from Germany to give that unique and best taste.
We use only German Technology and all our products come in a vacuum pouch of 250 grams, available in most stores in and around Nagaland.
We market it under the brand name of “JEMMEEZ”. We send our products to Imphal, Guwahati, West Bengal, Sikkim and Bhutan as well.
We have plans on expanding it to more States in and around North East. What future do you foresee for this kind of ventures in Nagaland.
Nagaland has a very huge potential market for food industry. In fact, food industry is the biggest industry in the world and the demands keep rising every day.
If more people can get into the food industry then we can depend less on the other States or Countries and raise our economy and at the same time, there will be more work opportunities and employments in our state which is very much needed at this time.
Message to the youth:
Our Youth today should understand that getting a government job is not everything. Every one of us should look for innovative careers.
Being an entrepreneur builds your confidence, develops your personality and it sets you aside from the rest.
It is always good to be different to bring change. Never lose faith in yourself, pray and always follow your dreams because I really believe in what a certain writer quoted, “And when you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”.