NEW DELHI, 29 April 2020: Farmers groups in Maharashtra’s Akola district sold 850 metric tonnes of fruits and vegetables worth INR 8.5 crore during the lockdown period through direct marketing.
The farmers group consisting of 69 groups has worked out an inspiring model of direct marketing in which they have sold crops with the help of District Agriculture Department at reasonable prices through 93 Direct Selling Outlets.
Speaking on this, one of the farmers in the group said, “We have already sold 850 metric tonnes of crops including fruits and vegetables so far. In order to save time and effort, our groups also use methods like online payments and order-on-phone service”.
The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India in a statement said that department has been taking several measures to facilitate farmers and farming activities at field level.
These outlets are located in urban areas of Akola as well as, in nearby districts. Apart from these organized selling outlets, the farmers have put up small stalls at important spots in the area and are also providing door to door delivery.
The lockdown coincides with the harvest season of the Rabi crops. The Department has been making concerted efforts so that farmers do not face any difficulties in selling their produce, the statement added.
To assure better returns especially for perishable crops like fruits and vegetables, the department encourages farmers to engage in ‘Direct marketing’.
To promote the concept of Direct Marketing among farmers, the Department assists farmers/ group of farmers/Farmer Producer Organistions/ Cooperatives in selling their produce to bulk buyers/big retailers/processors etc.
Mohan Wagh, Project Officer, Agricultural Technology Management Agency, Akola says “With the implementation of the model, we have ensured that the farmers do not suffer due to the lockdown and are able to sell their produce at a decent price. Our Department issues identity cards and passes for the farmers and vehicles for the smooth management of the system.”
To prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the District Agriculture Department has advised farmers to use masks, sanitizers and practise social distancing on the farms and in the mandis.
In this context, it may be recalled that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently expressed his appreciation for the functioning of Farmer Producers Organizations in Maharashtra and exhorted them to use digital platforms to sell more. He said this while speaking to the sarpanch of Medankarwadi, Maharashtra, during an online video interaction with sarpanchs across the country, on Panchayati Raj Diwas.