Apart from weather and market-related advisories, farmers will soon receive SMSes informing them about the availability of storage facilities. IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (Maharashtra and Goa) chief Krishnaji Kulkarni said the initiative would help farmers select the best market for their products and also prevent distress sale of agricultural produce.
Pricing and marketing of agricultural commodities have always been volatile issues that often result in farmers being at the receiving end. Farmers resort to distress sale of produce when there is a drastic fluctuation of prices incurring losses for themselves. Last year, after the steep rise in price of onions, several farmers from Nashik brought their produce to the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC), and then there was a sudden price dip. Some farmers find the cost of transporting produce to APMC is steeper than what they would earn and thus let the produce get damaged.
Kulkarni, speaking at the sidelines of the CII’s West Tech Summit in Pune, said one of the major issues was non-availability of information about storage facilities. “Although there are godowns, information regarding space availability and location is not widely disseminated among farmers. We have tied up with agencies, who regularly monitor storage spaces, and we will send text messages with details to farmers,” he said. Also, with the government pushing for public-private partnership in godowns, Kulkarni said the database would be become more extensive.
The advisories, which will be sent out from next month, Kulkarni said would advice farmers to store their produce instead of selling it to prevent drastic cost fluctuation. “In case of sudden dip in prices, we will send advisories asking them to store their produce. This way, farmers will be able to avoid a situation of distress sale and get a good price for their produce,” he said. This service will be rolled out next month, and it will be region specific in its advisories.
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