Eat Healthy with FOR8- a venture by Mudita Akoijam

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FOR8 is a venture working with farmers in North East India, which was started by Mudita Akoijam. FOR8 promotes high quality indigenous food products from this region, having strong nutrition content in addition to being great for the taste buds. These serene states are organic by default and gifted with the most high nutrition plants, most of which grow naturally in this organic terrain. FOR8 build alliances with women self help groups and marginalized farmers empower them through fair trade and an organic platform. The team of FOR8 believes in the right combination of ancient wisdom and modern science – a contributing factor in longevity and good health. FOR8 advocates ethical practices of production using traditional farming methods. 

FOR8’s prime products – Organic Black Rice and Organic Himalayan Red Rice which are present in organic food stores across Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Nature’s Basket and Amazon. They supply to Chef’s across India for Asian, European, Continental cuisines and health food chains. FOR8 is located in Imphal and Delhi.

Owing to the large number of skin and hair benefits of Black Rice, FOR8 has also launched a new range of Bath & Body care products recently under the name of Chakhao (which means Black Rice in Manipuri language). Rice water has been traditionally used in Manipur as an herbal shampoo from time immemorial. The products at FOR8 are made with all natural ingredients, infused with Black Rice extract and essential oils (on the basis of science of Aromatherapy). 

What makes FOR8 unique?

FOR8 works directly with several farmers, women self help groups across North East India. Its focus is to promote local indigenous super foods and natural produce through innovation and the right market presence for the end consumer.FOR8 lays main focus on high quality produce of the state and don’t grow/procure products from other states growing products that don’t originate from there. Since Black Rice is a local product from Manipur, the variety sold by them has highest Antioxidants. The Himalayan Red Rice is a local grain from Assam (called Bao Dhaan) also having several health benefits – Antioxidants, Dietary fibre, Vitamin B1, B2 and B6. 

While selecting the product line, the team of FOR8 ensures that only indigenous super foods are chosen – this will be more supportive to the farmers and will also provide our consumers with genuine natural products.

About the founder of FOR8

The founder of FOR8 is Mudita Akoijam. Despite being born and brought up in Delhi Mudita has been always very connected to her home land – Manipur and always felt very deeply about the struggles of the local people there. Her student life in Delhi included B.Com Hons from Jesus and Mary College (DU) and further studies as Masters in International Management from United Kingdom, which was followed by working in UK and then in India for approx. 3 years. The idea was followed by a lot of research and frequent visits to Manipur,  interactions with several local farmers, women self help groups, NGO’s, local entrepreneurs and even scientists in IBSD.

Mudita Akoijam said in a conversation with us;

“When this journey began in 2015 I decided to quit my job and focus completely on understanding the GAP both in the market and sourcing. The supply chain did not exist at that point and several insecurities remained including lack of quality control and awareness to do so among the farmers, lack of proper infrastructure and processing in Manipur, lack of economically viable logistics network, collective farming was also a challenge since each farmer was growing the produce on small plots of land owned by them.  It took a lot of efforts – collaboration with many people including local farmers and entrepreneurs and a huge dose of patience to bring the product to market in the form it is available today.

Despite being born and brought up in Delhi I have been always very connected to my home land – Manipur and always felt very deeply about the struggles of the local people there. My student life in Delhi included B.Com Hons from Jesus and Mary College (DU) and further studies as Masters in International Management from United Kingdom, which was followed by working in UK and then in India for approx. 3 years. But nothing ever gave me the satisfaction of working for another person’s dream and their company, when I could do something much more meaningful with my life and helping local farmers was a much more fulfilling thought.”

What are Mudita Akoijam’s plans for the upcoming years with FOR8?

Black Rice has much more presence abroad than in India. Most developed nations are consuming Black Rice in several cuisines since their access to information and Superfoods is much higher than other nations – this speaks about quality of life and focus on health. Our North East being cut off from the rest of India, abroad for the longest time has unfortunately not been able to provide such local produce to people. As this gap becomes smaller with constant focus by the govt on North East and also simultaneous growing awareness amongst farmers, as well as consumers – Black Rice and such indigenous products will become much more popular within India and abroad. 

The fitness and health segment in India is a huge market for such produce and it is growing everyday as India grows economically too. More people are willing to invest on good organic food now rather hospital bills – prevention is better than cure. There are many products like Black Rice which are indigenous in our state and deserve to be in the market which would really benefit the local farmers as well as consumers. Modern Pharma industry is running on slow poisons in the form of harsh medicines being given by doctors worldwide. 

We hope to increase our product line further by identifying the healthiest indigenous natural produce of this organic region and bringing them to people. 

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