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Home Life Style Empowering women through spices - Times of India

Empowering women through spices – Times of India


Pragya Agarwal could no longer ignore the bruises that she frequently noticed on the body of her domestic help Parvati. And one day, on being cajoled to talk about it, a battered Parvati broke down and told Pragya about the domestic violence that she had been silently braving. She could not stand up against her husband as she could not survive without his financial support. Pragya decided to help Parvati by setting up a small business wherein she began to sell homemade papads and namkeens and Pragya helped her market her products.

This incident made a lasting impact on her mind and Pragya along with her daughter Adhvika decided to do something to support women who silently suffer domestic abuse because of lack of financial independence. This led to the birth of ORCO (ORganic COndiments) — an organic spice brand.

How is ORCO different?

Besides giving employment to underprivileged women, the spices produced by ORCO are free from pesticides or any other hazardous chemicals, They are hand-ground on a hand mill (chakki) to retain their natural properties, taste, color, and aroma. All the products at ORCO are lab tested and hold certifications from FSSAI, USDA, EU APFPED, ONE CERT, USDA, India Organic, Javik Bharat, and Indian Agriculture.

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ORCO is now a recognised brand offering 56 different kinds of products including condiments, spices, dry fruits, mixed blends and seeds available in more than 100 retail stores. “We procure spices from certified organic farmers and then we also get the produce checked in certified laboratories. Like most organic facilities, ours is also checked by quality inspectors, at regular intervals,” says Adhvika.

“Grinding spices with machines exposes them to high heat, making them lose nutrients. Also, it is not sustainable as spice grinding machines consume massive amounts of electricity. We do not add any colour or aroma to our spices,” adds Adhvika.

Established in 2017, ORCO now employs more than 100 women. More than a business model, it is like a large, inclusive family-giving a respectable and sustainable source of income to several women. Parvati has now overcome her fear of domestic abuse-she earns well and feels empowered and no longer lives in the shadow of fear.



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