In the next two weeks, farmers from Mahrashtra will be seen directly selling their produce in Punjab. As part of an initiative of the Vegetable Growers Association of India (VGAI), farmers will open outlets at various parts of the country to directly sell their produce.
Shriram Gadve, president of VGAI, said the involvement of farmers in the selling process had been low due to various reasons. “Lack of knowledge about the marketing chain and the absence of infrastructure have been major roadblocks for farmers,” he said.
Also, due to the involvement of commission agents and traders at various levels, farmers are often deprived of the true price of the produce. “This initiative aims to address both the parameters and also allow free movement of agricultural goods in the country. In the first phase, which will be rolled out in the next two weeks, onions and pomegranates from Maharashtra will be sold directly in Chandigarh. The work to create backward linkages and setting up of delivery chains are almost over,” said Gadve.
While the Maharashtra chapter of VGAI will take care of the backward linkages and supply chain, the Punjab chapter will help in manning the outlets. Apart from outlets, warehouse and other infrastructure will also be a part of the project. Small Farmers Agri Business Consortium (SFAC), a government-promoted society, Gadve said was helping in identifying shops, warehouses and other necessary back-end infrastructure.
“43 farmers produce organisations will be a part of this move,” said Gadve. Talking about the initiative, Punit Singh, head of the Punjab chapter of VGAI, said major issues facing farmers was the lack of assured supply and quality of products. “With both being taken care of, we aim to market the initiative in a proper manner so that it is successful,” he said. Singh added that farmers from Punjab would soon directly market their goods like basmati rice, muskmelon and kinnu in Maharashtra.
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After Chandigarh, the initiative will be taken up Delhi. Organisers said this would also be publicised in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. “We aim to have north-south and south-north exchange of agricultural goods,” said Gadve.
Both the officials added that the necessary permissions for the initiative were in place and the state government was in support of it.