Asin Sharma, CONNECT Coordinator
Mr Gopal Bhat is the biggest trader of meat in Doti. A humble man with a pleasant smile, you wouldn’t guess that he was once a police officer and a Karate instructor. He started his second career with an initial investment of NPR 12.5 lakh with which he bought land, built a home and started a fresh meat cutting centre. He is now expanding and in the last six months has invested NRP 1,376,215 in new equipment and facilities.
I, and the RAP3 CONNECT team first met Mr Bhat in February 2016 while in Doti looking for business partners for the new programme. I was inspired by his honesty, integrity and natural business acumen and left that first meeting confident that, with support, Mr Bhat could transform the poultry industry in the Far West.
Over the next 6 months I met with Mr Bhat many times to discuss a partnership before we hit upon the idea to expand his business by producing dried poultry. A simple solution that not only expanded his business but solved problems: over supply from India undercutting his business and reducing demand for his product and the difficulty of storing fresh meat due to an unreliable electricity supply. His plan also added value with a higher profit margin for the new product. The team was impressed.
CONNECT supported Mr Bhat by connecting him to an importer who could get him the equipment he needed to produce dried meat and a food technology expert who has guided him in the process of getting a license for his dried poultry.
CONNECT’s constant lobbying, moral support and technical guidance has given Mr Bhat the ambition to take action and the courage to take risks. I was really happy to see him embrace being an entrepreneur. However, CONNECT’s ultimate goal was to bring benefits to farmers in his supply chain so we worked with him to secure long-term agreements with downstream farmers that committed him to supply them with poultry feed and to buy-back all the poultry meat they produced.
To date, Mr Bhat has signed contracts with 10 poultry farmers
The challenge now is to inspire the same ambition for growth amongst the farmers and build reliable relationships that will last beyond the end of the programme.