In Conversation with Padma Angmo, Entrepreneur

By Stanzin Dasal Leh, Feb 10, 2023
Leh :

Q. Brief us about your venture ‘Niima Goos Goos’.

Nyima Goos Goos is run by four girls namely Rigzin Yangdol, Padma Angmo, Rigzin Angmo, and Myself. Four of us met at Naropa Fellowship and it is where the story starts. We all are very passionate about farming lives; agro-produce, sticking to our roots and learning from them. Thus, we aim to work on agro products and support farmers who are working tirelessly on farms. To begin our journey we first started to survey in Aryan Valley where we found that Pesto is very common in the valley. 

It was a new thing for us and I am sure that is rarely known to others also that Pesto is popular in Ladakh. This is how the idea of promoting indigenous ingredients came in. Later, we surveyed Nubra valley and many other villages of the Ladakh region. We named our venture ‘Nima Goos Goos’ which means Sunflower in Ladakhi symbolizing positivity, warmth, and motivation. Ladakh is a cold desert region and sunflower spreads positivity thus the whole idea of our venture came in. In the beginning, it was all scattered but we have two mentors Caroline and James from Live to Love International who guided us to get everything streamlined. 

Our brand started in 2019 and in 2020 COVID-19 lockdown started which was disheartening initially but our business picked up after COVID because people became health conscious and since our products were herbal and have all the health benefits the demand went up.
At present around 10 farmers are associated with us. Apart from locals, we get an order from South India, and army personnel also. Nima Goos Goos products are available in Chospa Store, Dragon mart and one can order online on Instagram.

Q. Why did you choose agro products?

 The passion for farming is the first thing and while doing our research work we found that many of the fields are left uncultivated. I earlier used to work in Delhi where the organization was striving hard to promote organic farming but here in Ladakh people do practice organic farming since inception but have less understanding and value of organic farming. We have many indigenous ingredients such as nettle leaves, buckwheat, barley, etc which is very valuable but the locals are less aware of them. Thus, we wanted to work on agro-products in Ladakh. 

 Q. What are the ranges of products you make and where did you procure the raw materials from?

We make locally sourced products that benefit the customer, small-scale growers and producers, and the local economy. We got a range of tea bags made of buckwheat, barley, nettle, Apricot preserves, pesto in three varieties, sundried tomato, walnut, and Apricot kernel. We get the raw material from different villages such as buckwheat from Takmachik, barley from Martselang, Nettle leaves from Tukla and Tomatoes, and apricots from Aryan valley. The reason we chose these villages is that we find the qualities and taste of the products superior as compared to others. 

Q. Being a Start-up what are the challenges you faced?

Firstly, being women-led startups many judge and question our ability. Will you be able to do it? How will you handle the finance and marketing? You are all girls will you will be able to travel to far-off villages etc? These are the question we came up dealing with and I feel for us the biggest challenge is dealing with the mentality of the people. There are some technical problems such as procuring packaging materials from outside. It takes time to reach Leh and because of it, the product delivery gets delayed. Also, in the beginning, farmers are a bit skeptical about our work. They want us to take the raw materials in bulk as we take them in small amounts initially.

Q. What do you have to say about women entrepreneurship in Ladakh? How important is it to encourage youths in this sector? 

Women entrepreneurship is accelerating in Ladakh. Today we see women driving innovation and creating new waves across key sectors. There will be challenges but the point is to overcome and succeed. There is still some way to go and certain tactical interventions to support the existing and potential women entrepreneurs such as training, financing, networks, etc. In Ladakh, many of the ventures are started by women and they are running them very successfully. 

Entrepreneurship is growing in Ladakh and with this the concept of getting a govt. job is slowly changing. Today many want to start their venture, be independent, and create a job for others. To support starts ups there are also various schemes such as PMGP, PMFMS, and Startup India, etc. and if you go through DIC there will be many other schemes. The only thing is to take the first step, the rest just follows up. 

Q. Do you have plans for the future?

Yes, we do have plans and working on them also. We are going to launch a few more herbal teas such as mixed herbals and sea buckthorns. Apart from that we are also seeing opportunities in Caraway seeds, Caper, a wild edible plant locally known as Kabra tsotma. 

Q. Farming activities are not being encouraged nowadays and we have also witnessed that the fields and farms are converted into big hotels and business establishments now. What do you have to say about these changes?

Indeed it is very sad to see that farming is not so encouraged nowadays because of the availability of other sources of income. When we were surveying we saw that even in villages many farms and fields are left uncultivated. Ladakh’s concept of self-reliance is fading away. It’s high time we should encourage farming activities, and exploring new opportunities and scopes. Self-sustainable way of living concept is very important and we should make people aware of it. 

 Message to the readers

“Appreciating others is very important because it gives more courage and strength to do and excel in respective fields. People who do good for society and strive to progress and make Ladakh famous need to be appreciated.”