During a national lockdown, farmers in Maharashtra were faced with throwing away tons of fresh vegetables. Big markets were shut down as social restrictions were introduced to stop the virus spreading. CSC Kisan eMart was their saviour as they went online for the first time to connect with customers. It has been a turning point for farmers in Pune, Nashik, Satara, Solapur and Jalna districts of Maharashtra, as they embrace a new way to sell.
Farmer Abhishek Jagtap is the owner of a 5 acre farm in Pimpri Kh, a village in Purandar Taluka in Pune District of Maharashtra, where he sells tomato and other seasonal vegetables. “When the lockdown extended, I was looking at probably throwing away the harvested vegetables since the demand abruptly stopped overnight as the big markets had to close,” he said.
Thankfully, VLE Pranav Kamatkar stepped in to bring the farmers onboard and connected him with CSC Kisan eMart to sell his vegetables to a new customer base.
Farmer Dattatray Badbade is the owner of 5.6 acre land in Padegaon village, Maharashtra. He also faced the problem of not being to sell at markets before he joined the CSC e-commerce platform for farmers.
“Our business has definitely been affected by Covid-19, given that we aren’t able to supply to markets, grocery stalls, as most had to close, but being able to sell through CSC’s Digital platform is still keeping us in business,” he said.
The VLE Pranav Kamatkar is helping farmers of Nira, Pimpri Kh, Gulunche, Padegaon, Raudi and Mirewadi villages in Maharashtra. In the state, the farmers have sold their more than 50,000 kg produce in the month of May during Covid-19.
The VLE says, “There are various benefits that farmers and buyers are going to receive as a result of the CSC Kisan eMart like farm management and farmer advisory services which will help in the reduction of crop loss, and the farmers will also get educated about the best prices that they can receive in exchange for their products.”
He adds, “Market linkage helps the farmers to participate in global markets, and this helps to provide visibility to the buyers. Financial services help the two parties in having direct dealings, which is far easier and hassle-free as well. Buyers also have the opportunity to place advance orders.”
Thanks to CSC Kisan eMart, the days when farmers were solely dependent on middlemen for selling off their produce is gradually giving way to more efficient and transparent systems. There was a time when farmers were removed from the local markets, let alone the global market, and were heavily exploited. Their earnings were meagre and they were ill-informed about farming and business practices.
However, the scenario has changed today. Through the initiation of digital innovation in agriculture, farmers can be directly in touch with the market through the means of a digital platform. This predicament has benefited farmers, food retailers and processed food manufacturers in Maharashtra as direct linkage has become possible. With access to regular market alerts regarding pricing, for example, a farmer can be better informed about the demands and prices of a product and can make informed decisions about it through CSC Kisan eMart.
Farmers can sell their produce direct, on portal through bid process. Farmer will get their sold produce amount directly in their Bank Accounts.
VLE will on-board farmer on “CSC Kisan e-Mart” portal along with farmers’ KYC details and also add stock of farmer for selling. They will get commission on adding verified stock and farmers on portal. VLE are working as a facilitator in this model.
This is currently being run as a pilot project in 5 districts (Pune, Nashik, Satara, Solapur and Jalna) of Maharashtra.
Another farmer Shri Bapu Rao More who sold 10,000 Kg watermelon through Kisan eMart said, “This model has provided us a vibrant market. Without a vibrant market, the farmers like us will be under continuous pressure thinking about profitability, cost, sustainability, and managing the risk of crop production. We would be forced to undervalue our produce, or worse, suffer post-harvest losses without a ready market.”
Opportunities associated with the presence of a vibrant market through CSC Kisan eMart in an agricultural country like India is diverse. With more than 60% of the population still engaged in rural farming, a vibrant market will produce more favorable earning opportunities for them and reflect positively on the country’s GDP. Also, vast acres of land and a huge section of the population invested in agriculture can make India the top exporter in grains and vegetables.
India is second most populated country in the world. Agriculture provides livelihood to about 65 per cent of the labor force and accounts for 8.56 per cent of India’s exports. The fragmented farms are constraining the risk taking of Indian farmer locking him up into a vicious cycle of low investment, low productivity, weak market orientation, low value addition, low margin and low risk taking ability
The most crucial one is the middleman who works between the farmers and the buyer and is involved in the whole transaction, and also the control that the trader cartels have over the business, as 70% of the farm produce that India makes is sold to the middlemen. The farmers sell their goods to these middlemen at a very low cost and these middlemen sell those products to the buyers at a much higher price.
A digital platform like CSC Kisan eMart has been created to connect the farmers and the buyers because it tries to make the two parties come together so that they can have a detailed interaction regarding each of their needs and requirements. It is being said after several studies that by 2050 food supply will have to be increased by 50-60%, and it will be no easy task.
So to help the farmers not face the problems that they have been facing all this time, like low value for their produce, lack of good marketing schemes for their products, CSC Kisan eMart platform has been created keeping in mind the needs of the farmers so they can improve the quality of their life.
The CSC Kisan eMart model demonstrates its strength in recognising markets and increasing the efficiency of an agricultural system, while doing so in ways that benefit farmers and rural communities as well as stockholders.
This techno – market led business model can enhance the competitiveness of Indian agriculture and trigger a positive cycle of higher productivity and quality, higher incomes, enlarged capacity for farmer risk management and larger investments. This also enables farmers to make better informed decisions and sizably increase their income by aligning farm output to market.