Agri Business

With Farmers’ Mart, 35 Maharahtra FPCs set up a marketing system

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on January 03, 2021

Farmers’ mart

From foodgrains to vegetables, all produce to be sold under one roof

Even as the controversy over the three farm laws has evoked sharp reactions from Punjab and Haryana farmers and experts are debating their pros and cons, 35 Farmers Producer Companies (FPCs) in Satara district of Maharashtra have joined hands to cultivate, harvest, process, package and market their own produce starting a Farmers’ Mart.

These farmers believe that neither government nor private investors can change the fortunes of farmers but they themselves need to do so collectively.

“We established Rich Agri Farmer Producer Company (RAFPC) a few days back and realised that farmers are good producers but there is no market for the produce. We started discussions with other FPCs and self-help groups and the idea of a Farmers’ Mart came up,” Ravindra Kamble, founder member of RAFPC, told BusinessLine.

Maharashtra has by far the largest number of producer companies (1,940). But many FPCs were unable to make any progress because of lack of a marketing system. Members of 35 FPCs supported the idea, and a first-of-its-kind Farmers’ Mart started by FPCs came up at Mhasave near Satara. From foodgrain to vegetables, the producer companies bring their produce to sell under one shelter.

‘More markets soon’

“The mart was started in October 2020 and every day produce worth up to ₹10,000 gets sold. Companies pay ₹500 rent per month and 5 per cent commission from the produce sold to support the mart’s operations. It is just a beginning and we plan to rope in more FPCs and start new markets,” Kamble added. According to Gurudatta Kale, Satara district agriculture officer, more and more FPCs are coming together to establish their own marketing system and the government is playing the role of a facilitator.

FPCs in Maharashtra are trying various experiments. MahaFPC, a consortium of 303 FPCs in Maharashtra, achieved a turnover of Rs ₹550 crore during the lockdown while working as a procurement agency for Nafed and the Food Corporation of India. It procured pigeon pea and chickpea from the farmers through their member companies.

The idea has also caught the fancy of commuters on the Pune-Satara-Kolhapur highway, who say that buying directly from a mart run by farmers gives them the satisfaction that the money is directly is going to the producers.

Published on January 03, 2021

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