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Successful marketing of watermelon by local farmers

For the first time, farmers of Kabirajpur village, Puri have successfully sold 5.4 metric tonne of watermelon at their door step through an institutional process, at a total price of Rs. 18, 900/-, setting a benchmark in watermelon marketing in the area. This marketing has been done by the Baba Beleswar Krushak Samabaya Ltd, Chaitana, a farmers’ cooperative formed under the livelihood initiative SAFAL of Vedanta University Project with the help of ACCESS, the technical service provider. The farmers could sell watermelon at a price of Rs. 3500/- per metric tonne, as against the price of Rs. 3000/-, normally offered by the local traders. The watermelon was procured by the cooperative, which was later sold at Bhubaneswar.

The spot determination of price was done at the village itself. This marketing of watermelon was facilitated by Vedanta University Project under its SAFAL initiative. The main objective of this marketing was to avoid distress sale of watermelon, to provide a market to the small and marginal farmers at their door step and to get them some instant income in order to meet the current farming cost. The farmers’ co-operative, Baba Beleswar Krushak Samabaya Ltd could familiarize itself with the entire process of institutional marketing like, listing of the farmer’s name and the quantity of watermelon to be sold, contacting the buyer, arranging things at the watermelon collection point, listing of the sale price, etc.

This marketing process has been very encouraging to all concerned. Prashanta Nayak of Kabirajpur village, one of the farmers who has sold his watermelon says, “For the first time we have received a good price, in fact Rs. 500/- more than what the local traders offer. This marketing process has given us a lot of confidence. We have learnt how to sell our farm produce at a better price”.

It can be recalled that the main objective of the SAFAL initiative of Vedanta University Project is to increase the family income of small and marginal farmers, empower them through institutionalized community structures (farmer’s SHGs, Cooperatives, etc), facilitate their negotiation of key linkages in the value chains and thus, mainstream them. So far, 110 Farmers’ Self Help Groups (FSHGs) have been formed under this initiative comprising 1516 farmers from 23 different villages. 2 cooperatives, namely, Jaya Jagannath Krushak Samavaya Ltd and Baba Beleswar Krushak Samabaya Ltd and 6 farmers’ clubs with the support of NABARD have also been formed.

by S. C.
30 march 2010, World News > Asia