Agri Business

Gaining confidence of farmers is key: P Soman

KV Kurmanath New Delhi | Updated on February 28, 2020 Published on February 28, 2020

It is important to gain the confidence of the farmers by building a rapport with them and offering technology at reasonable prices, rather than focussing on signing contract farming agreements, according to P Soman, chief agronomist at Jain Irrigation.

“We have been working with smallholder farmers for the last 16 years. We don’t have any formal contract farming agreements with them but we helped them improve their productivity and gained their confidence. The agreement is mutual, though not signed,” Soman said at the BusinessLine Agri Summit here on Friday.

Due to the technology and advisory provided, the productivity of onion farmers in the network went up to 12-16 tonnes tonnes from 6-7 tonnes.

Taking part in a panel discussion on ‘Building the right market access infrastructure’, he said the farmers were being given technology inputs at an affordable EMIs so that they didn’t need to put in heavy capital expenditure.

“In a bad year, when prices crash, we still buy the produce as per the informal agreement. And, in a good year, when prices are hitting the roof, we allow them to sell at least 50 per cent in the markets they want to sell. But because of trust, they would sell the produce to us,” Soman said.

He said over 4,000 farmers, with about one acre of land, were being roped in for the intervention.

A similar exercise had been done with mango farmers, where the productivity increased to 10 tonnes from 2 tonnes by switching to high-precision farming. The yields can be seen within from three years, as against 6-7 years in the traditional way of growing the crop.

The two-day BusinessLine Agri Summit saw the participation of key stakeholders from the sector, representing the public and private sector organisations.

Published on February 28, 2020
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