Today the Primary problem faced by the Indian Farmers is the absence of adequate marketing structures for marketing of agricultural produce. In the present situation , the producer's share of the returns obtained by marketing the produce is very low. This is because the farmers are not provided with the adequate marketing services and hence leaving them to depend on local traders or middlemen for marketing their crops. In most cases , farmers are either convinced or forced to sell their produce to these mediators since they are not left any other choice. This happens mostly due to lack of transport facilities , inadequate storage structures and also a lack of knowledge of the current marketing prices of the goods. In the case of perishable crops , the produce must either be marketed quickly or should be stored in proper storage godowns shortly after harvesting . But most of the rural farmers of India are below poor and do not have access to this facilities hence they are left with no other choice except to sell their produce to the local traders or middlemen who cheat farmers with their words and convince them into selling their produce at cheaper rates .After obtaining the goods from farmers they, later on, make a profit out of it by selling them at relatively higher prices. In some cases, farmers are not aware of the current mandi prices of the crops hence are tricked by the mediators. In our country especially in the Northern part of India, an average of 20 to 24 percent of the crops grown by the farmers are sold within in the village itself.
In India, more than 22 percent of the farmers are below poverty line, they depend on private money lenders for generally charge high rates of interest . As a result of distress sale of the produce due to the above-mentioned reasons , the farmers aren't even getting back their invested money . So unable to pay back the money they have borrowed, farmers are taking the extreme decision of ending their lives ,If we look into the rate of farmers suicide in the country , 5,650 farmer suicides were recorded in the year 2014 and the highest recorded rate was in the year 2004 when 18,241 farmers committed suicide , in India . Maharashtra , Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh are leading in respect of farmer's suicide in the country. So it's clear that distress sale of the agricultural produce is the main reason for farmers suicide in India.
The farmers do not end their lives just because of any family feud or any incurable diseases , they are taking this extreme step of ending their lives leaving their dependents at lurch , purely because of financial distress which is caused mainly due to unavailability of marketing and post-harvest management facilities.
All these are happening despite concerted efforts by the agricultural scientists and food experts to improve the condition of farmers but still, the rate farmer' suicide has not come down.
Despite the constant efforts by the Government and Agriculture scientist , the farmers are unable to sell the produce without any hindrances. lack of awareness about the improvements in the field of agriculture among the farmers is also a major reason for this. So what may be the possible solution for this problem ?.
Smart agriculture is a term that we might have seen in the recent magazines , so what is this smart agriculture. The obvious answer is that it is the key to all the marketing related issues of the farmers.
Today we can find numerous websites that are active online like Amazon , Flipkart , eBay , Snapdeal etc. While these websites are mainly focussed mostly on non-agricultural goods , there are a good number of websites which have come up and are currently active and providing services to the farmers. Websites like IFFCO , KISSAN MARKET , CROFARM , FARMILY which have been set up mainly with the aim of helping farmers market their produce without any distress and intervention by the middlemen.These web services act as a bridge between the farmers and the consumers , they directly link a farmer to a consumer. Some online agricultural baskets like Ninja cart and Big Basket directly purchase the produce from farmers directly at ongoing market prices and then sell them to the consumers .The websites also provide complete updates of ongoing market prices of the agricultural commodities so that both farmers and consumers are benefitted.Through these ,the farmers can stop relying on the local traders and sell their produce directly to the consumers at reasonable prices and consumers can get fresh goods at reasonable prices as well and thus eliminate the intervention of middlemen in the process. Few of the websites like FARMILY also provide storage facilities and loan facilities to farmers who need financial assistance. But the problem is that most of the farmers are not aware of these online services and still depend on the local traders , it is important that some measure has to be taken to educate the farmers about Online marketing of agricultural services because clearly e-marketing of agricultural produce holds key to all the marketing related problems of our farmers.
Online Marketing of Agricultural Produce
How does this work , usually the farmers are required to register with the website by providing the necessary details , likewise retailers or consumers also must register with the website. After registration farmers can post ads containing the details about their crops , price, and quantity similarly consumers can post ads containing details of their requirement and budget. The website then reviews the ads and then link the farmers and consumers whose requirements match. Few online agri stores like Ninjacart and Bigbasket purchase produce from farmers at reasonable prices and then sell them to the consumers. In this process, the farmers can sell produce without any intervention by the mediators and also overcome the transport and storage problems.For the ease of farmers these websites also provide services to the farmers through android based applications which are available for download in Google Playstore for free. These apps also provide updates of all the mandi prices and latest updates of marketing prices
Few Agricultural websites for Farmers :
The NAM Portal provides a single window service for all APMC related information and services. This includes commodity arrivals & prices, buy & sell trade offers, provision to respond to trade offers, among other services. While material flow (agriculture produce) continue to happen through mandis, an online market reduces transaction costs and information asymmetry.
2. Kissan Market : Kissan market is an online web portal which allows its member who has signed up with it to directly interact with the farmers or consumers. The farmers who are members can sell their produce by posting their crop and price which will be displayed on the site while the buyers can post ads of their requirements on the site and get a direct deal from the farmers . Thus this is a great way to eliminate the intrusion of middle man and helping the farmers to market their produce at the right price and even helping the consumers get their requirements at reasonable rates.
3. Farmily : Farmily is also a similar website like Kissan market allowing the direct contact of producers and consumers and thus minimizing the interruption of middlemen . With about 30,000 registered users Farmily has won second prize in the best website of India competition organized by the association of Facebook and Internet.org. In addition to this, farmily also benefits the farmers by providing them loans and storage godowns . The facility is also available on mobile , the farmily app is available in google playstore which can be used to avail all the facilities of farmily from your mobile.