Agri Business

A cooperative that caters to almost all needs of farmers

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on June 12, 2019

Raghavendra Hegde, Director of TSS Ltd, explaining the functioning of the jewellery store of the cooperative in Sirsi AJ VINAYAK   -  AJ VINAYAK

Totagars’ Cooperative Sale Society (TSS) Ltd at Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka is a cooperative with a difference. Unlike other cooperatives that limit their activities to procuring commodities from their members and marketing them to consumers, TSS takes care of the other needs of its members, such as house repair, medical treatment and purchase of household items.

The 96-year-old TSS Ltd, which has 30,000 members, primarily deals in the procurement and marketing of arecanut and pepper in Uttara Kannada district.

Facilitatory role

Interacting with this reporter during his visit to Sirsi recently, Ravish Hegde, General Manager of TSS Ltd, said: “Farmers are the reason for our diversification into other sectors. Our intention is the welfare of farmers, be it in the price for their commodities or the goods and services they get. They should not be deceived by market forces.”

The cooperative has a pool of engineers and construction workers to meet the needs of its members in house construction and repair. The cooperative also markets construction material such as cement, steel, tiles, granite, sand etc, he said. All these products and services are provided at a reasonable rate to the members. More than 3,000 members of the cooperative have benefited from this initiative since its launch eight months ago, he said. A mall-like experience was not thought of in Sirsi town five years ago. Now people of Sirsi, especially members of TSS Ltd, have an option to buy items ranging from groceries, agri implements, electronic items, furniture, to dress materials and fashion accessories from the TSS supermarket spread over four floors.

Supermarket

Raghavendra Hegde, Director of TSS Ltd, said: “If you see young people in three-fourths and t-shirts near TSS Ltd during weekends, you can be sure that these Sirsi people are working in places like Bengaluru. They are here to purchase their requirements from TSS supermarket. The quality and the reasonable price attract these people to the supermarket.”

TSS’ successful entry into this segment has encouraged major retail players to open outlets in the town, he said.

Ravish Hegde said TSS Ltd has supermarkets in Sirsi and Siddapur towns of the district. The cooperative is planning to open supermarkets in Yellapur and Mundgod towns of the district in the coming months. A year-and-a-half ago, the cooperative set up a jewellery store to meet the requirements of its members. Raghavendra Hegde said the cooperative’s jewellery store is equipped with latest gold purity analysers, and the customers get the gold purity report for their purchase.

Stating that a town like Sirsi has an annual turnover of around ₹100 crore for gold, he said the cooperative gets around one-fifth of it.

Healthcare

Raghavendra Hegde said TSS Ltd set up a 100-bed hospital in Sirsi in 2005 with donations from its members. “Our members and their families get 25 per cent concession in our hospital,” he said.

Farmers need not even search for accommodation, if he wants to stay back in Sirsi for a day or two. The cooperative also owns a hotel with lodging facility in the heart of the town, he added.

Published on June 12, 2019

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