Abhinav Farmers Club from Pune has revolutionized traditional agriculture through direct marketing and doing away with middlemen.
It's not always your day if you are a farmer. No wonder,agriculture isn't looked at as a lucrative option since rub of the green seldom goes in a farmer's favour.However,an out-of-the-box thinking can help farmers reap rich harvests and this is what has happened to this group of farmers in Maan,Hinjewadi near Pune.Abhinav Farmers'Club,dedicated to floriculture and exotic vegetables,has revolutionized traditional agriculture through direct marketing by doing away with middlemen.
Dnyaneshwar Bodke,interior decorator-turned-farmer,sowed the seed of this club after he saw a number of farmers mortgaging their farms against loans to manage their households. He started pursuing them not to sell away their land and make the most it. Focusing on floriculture and exotic vegetables,the group started understanding a thing or two about marketing their products. From a humble beginning,things gradually changed for better.
The process hasn't been a smooth sailing,says Bodke. "It was tough to convince farmers and I had to be very patient. I observed that all of them used to sell their products to agents in market and were totally clueless about prices. Things turned worse when they couldn't recover even the production cost. This made us realize the need for forming a group."
To understand market logistics,Bodke decided to market agricultural products directly instead of relying on the middlemen."Many farmers had burnt their fingers in the traditional market set-up.I decided to take the lead.A decade ago,many retail chains were coming up with departmental stores and I started meeting people in the business.They agreed to purchase vegetables and fruits directly from us and pay 30 per cent more than the production cost. However,there were limitations as their payments would come after three months. After that,we started supplying the stuff to hotels and understood the entire marketing chain. Now,eateries buy vegetables from us in bulk."
Organized farming has helped farmers in not only clearing debts but also earning handsomely,claims Bodke. He says that every farmer in the group earns around Rs 1,000 a day."There are farmers who earn Rs 8,000 to 10,000 a day. Of course,we work by the sweat of our brows. It's a tough day from 7 am to 8 pm and still we have no complaints. We are ready to work harder. All we seek is a fair deal."
Emphasizing on organic farming,the group focuses 70 per cent on floriculture and the rest on exotic vegetables."Pune,Bangalore and Delhi are our main markets for flowers.We also tried our hands at floral decorations in IT companies but we didn't get expected returns.We have handed over packing of vegetables to a female self-help group to help them in their enterprises.''
Today,Abhinav farmers'club has 256 members in Pune and 75 groups in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.According to Bodke,farming is a lucrative option."It is an essential commodity and will never lose its importance. Educated youth should take to farming.Technology should be more efficiently used.From government,we expect better connectivity,transport,power supply and clean administration.Our fundamental aim is to make farmers self-sufficient,"he concludes.
Article Source - Times of India
Writer - Kanchan Gogate
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