The origin of our marketing initiative is interesting. The honeyhunters needed an assured marketing support. Thus, with the intention to give the honeyhunter a better price for an improved product, the marketing venture was taken up. Keystone wanted to clearly establish this as a `business venture with a development objective’ and approached the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for support.
The marketing venture soon expanded from honey and bees wax products to other homestead items grown in small quantities by the communities. There are spices and coffee, organically grown but which would fetch a low rate from the traders due to inaccessibility of villages and trade malpractices. The procurement price set by Keystone, doubled the prevalent the honey purchase rates, added 10% for organic homestead produce to the prevalent wholesale market prices and placed a price on bees wax, which was being wasted.
Keystone sells through a network of distributors and through its `Green Shops’ in Kotagiri, Coonoor and Ooty.
The Purpose Behind Enterprise
It began in 1995, with the purchase of honey and bees wax but today encompasses a huge range of products that are not only collected, harvested, processed & packed in village value addition units but produce that is also sourced from similar like-minded organisations. The focus areas for enterprise development are the following:
- Local Marketing – promote local trade and marketing in local / rural areas with indigenous groups and establish a chain of Green Shops in urban areas. Diversify food, craft and artisan products for larger benefits to primary collectors and producers and build their stake in the enterprise.
- Certification – initiate organic certification for small farmers to retain the biodiversity in small homestead farms and arrest drastic land use change. Contribute to the knowledge of forest certification for encompassing biodiversity and cultural practices which go beyond non-chemical presence.
- Value Addition – add value and generate income at the village level through products brought out from projects and produced; gathered traditionally in farms and forests.