The UAS aims to enable farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers by avoiding middlemen
A small experiment by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore in providing direct marketing facilities to farmers has led to a three-fold increase in the incomes of nearly 200 mango growers.
The direct marketing experiment taken up by the UAS’s Department of Agricultural Marketing, Co-operation and Business Management began in the backdrop of various studies showing that farmers get less than one-third of the total profits as the majority of the profits are cornered by the middlemen.
Following this, the University’s marketing experts chose 100 farmers each from the mango-growing belt of Ramanagaram and Kolar districts to enable them to sell their produce directly to consumers by avoiding middlemen under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.
“As it is necessary to maintain quality if one has to target high-end consumers, we decided to focus right from the stages of cultivation and harvesting. We advised farmers on the methods of pruning the trees, scientific methods of harvesting the fruits, grading them and natural ripening,” says the UAS’s Head of the Agricultural Marketing wing, Dr. M. S. Jayaram.
The farmers were also helped in packaging the fruits as that would add value. The mangoes from Kolar were branded as “Kolar Gold” and those from Ramanagaram were christened “Ram Gold” with the prices being mentioned on the pack.
After this, the farmers were given foldable display tables with umbrella covers. The University faculty convinced various government departments and agencies located in vantage areas of Bangalore to provide small space to these farmers in their premises for specific hours in a day at locations. This included space in Cubbon Park, place near Income Tax office, Marketing Federation office and University’s own campuses in Hebbal and GKVK.
. “As against the price of Rs. Rs 3,000 a quintal which the farmers would get at the local markets for Alphonso, they are getting Rs 100 a kg through direct marketing. Similarly, they are getting Rs. 75 a kg for raspuri variety of mangoes as against the prices of Rs. 2,500 a quintal while Mallika variety is fetching them Rs. 50 a kg as against Rs. 2,500 a tonne in local market,” Dr. Jayaram points out.
Swami, who has 10 acres of mango orchard in Kanakapura taluk, says earlier, he crop used to fetch around Rs. three lakh annually. “Now through the direct marketing method, I have earned more than Rs. eight lakh. Four of my family members are selling mangoes at different locations and each one of us has been able to sell nearly 600 kg a day,” he says.
The University wants to enrol 1,000 farmers for this project next year and also wants to increase the sale points to 25 from the present 10.