The inspiration for the Kisan Mandi came from the success of the experiment attempted by the Small Farmers Agriculture Business Consortium (SFAC) when onions prices were rocketing in the Capital a couple of months ago, said Parvesh Sharma, MD, SFAC. At present, commission agents dominate all markets, not only in Delhi but across the country, he added at a workshop in Pune.
When the Centre called on the SFAC to do something about the high prices and ensure that consumers get them at reasonable rates, Sharma called on the Vegetable Growers Association of India (VGAI) and asked Shriram Gadhave, its president, to ensure smooth supply of onions and potatoes to the Capital.
The SFAC gave them 11 mobile vans and the Junnar Taluka Farmer Producers Company based in Pune district began supplying onions at R26 per kg in Delhi, when the commodity was available at R45-50 per kg in most markets. It has supplied around 100 tonne per day in the last fortnight. Delhi deals in some 15,000 tonne of fruits and vegetables with an annual turnover of R800 crore.
The concept for the Kisan Mandi came from the success of Farmer Producer Companies in Maharashtra, Gadhave said.
The country has some 600 FPCs, of which a third are in Maharashtra alone, Sharma said. Madhya Pradesh was earlier leading the pack with 100 FPCs but Maharashtra has overtaken it and has also formed the first apex FPC in the country, called the Maharashtra Rajya Shetkari Company Federation. The apex FPC, which has representatives from 10 major FPCs in the state, will help the rest of the FPCs to find better markets for their products. There are similar smaller markets running across the country, however these are run entirely by farmers without any form of government support.
A website is being prepared for the apex FPC that will also contain links to markets in London and will help the FPCs get export licences as well, Gadhave said. VGAI is also attempting to gain a foothold in Chandigarh where a similar experiment is being attempted for supply of onions, he added.
The Junnar Taluka Farmer Producers Company will also sell onions and soon all 43-odd FPCs under the Maharashtra Rajya Shetkari Company Federation will be supplying onions to these markets in the north.
Apart from outlets, onions will also be sold through online marketing where SFAC will declare the day's rates online and orders will be accepted, Gadhave, president of the federation, said. He added that the location and warehouses have been identified by the organisation and operations could begin soon.
Sharma said SFAC will also send FPCs from MP, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal to learn from Maharashtras success. If all goes well, the Delhi Kisan Mandi model could be replicated in other states.