India is a largely an agrarian society. Agriculture constitutes 60 percent of employment in this country and the farmers who practice it are vital ingredients to India’s economic fabric. Despite their significance, the merits of economic progress have left them relatively untouched.
One such factor that has been ailing them is with respect to their produce. Normally farmers sell their produce at the local ‘Mandi’ either because they don’t have a choice or lack knowledge, thus depriving themselves of a fair price for their commodity. And also they face challenges due to lack of storage facilities and access to finance.
IFMR Trust through its commodity markets project in partnership with NSEL (National Spot Exchange Limited) has tried to address these issues in the Kadi region by:
- Providing a modern electronic exchange to farmers, so that they can sell their produce at a fair price. In Kadi, per bag electronic market prices obtained by the farmer have been about Rs.20-45 higher than the mandi prices.
- Providing warehouses to store the commodities.
- Providing a loan up to 10 lakhs, at an annual interest rate of 10% on their commodity.
The initiative is a small but significant step towards empowering choice for the farmers.
Gaurav Kumar works for IFMR Capital, and is a key member of the commodity markets project.