Great ideas from many people. Here is my take on " Opportunities in Agriculture ".
Marketing. This is the key to everything in business. It’s not how much you produce. It’s a matter of how much and how well you can sell your produce.
Many of you have varying degrees of first hand experience in farming and I am sure all of you will agree that there are just two ways to enhance your income as a farmer ; 1. Grow more produce or 2. Get a better price for your produce.
Ideas such as green house, poly house, vermicomposting, hydroponics and so on are correct. Nothing wrong with that at all. The reality is that unless educated and serious minded individuals (like your good selves) create better marketing options for farmers then I am afraid the pace of change in agriculture will be very slow. Demand will outstrip Supply. Prices will go up. Farmers share will remain low!!!
A case in point is; Why can’t urban consumers and the city residents try and create direct linkages with farmers in their respective districts. To get around the nexus of traders and APMC markets the common man and the farmer must create a permanent relationship. NGO’s and other social organizations should get themselves organized and realize how much the poor farmer earns how much they are paying for common vegetables and fruits.
This situation is being exploited by a few people and it’s time the people came together and stake a claim to their rights.
Once farmers and the consumer form a direct relationship then and only then will the farmer earn a fair price for his labour and expenses. We can go on and on talking about new technologies and ideas forever. This is (in my opinion) a little too much to expect from farmers. When residents of building societies begin to adopt a cluster of farmers we will see the meeting of rural and urban civilizations. The market traders and middlemen who exploit prices and hoard the produce will see their fate on the wall.
In Thane city I and a few of my like minded friends (those with a proven track record in public service) are working to implement this marketing model for farmers in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts. We plan to source directly from the farmer or from a farmer’s Mandi and sell the produce in building societies in Thane city area.
For an indication of what I am talking about check out this company in Chennai ; www.matchboxsolutions.com
Remember one simple fact; Unity Is Strength. (Farmer + Consumer = NO Price Manipulation and Hoarding Issues By Traders)
Some key challenges we are going to face are - Logistics. Price fluctuation. Locating farmers. Ensuring a steady supply line.
If anyone is interested to work with our NGO in Thane city or simply to support or guide us then we are open to suggestions and ideas.