The infamous middleman

by Ajit Kanitkar, Yogesh Dwivedi
Gwalior district, Madhya Pradesh

With the lockdown in place, several local vegetable markets and grocery shops were closed in Gwalior, and as with other places, residents soon started facing a shortage of essential supplies.

At the same time, about 40 km from the city, farmers were struggling to sell their fresh produce of vegetables; some were forced to dump the vegetables due to lack of demand.

To resolve the issues of both these groups, a farmer producer company (FPC)—the Chambal Agro Farmers Producer Company Limited (CAFPCL)—created a WhatsApp group of consumers in Gwalior and got them to list their requirements, contacted farmers to note the availability of vegetables, and arranged curfew passes for its members. They then started to transport the produce from the farmers to the consumers, reaching up to 300 consumers daily.

A big push for the FPC came when the district administration lent its support to their initiative. The CEO of the zilla panchayat deputed the staff of the District Rural Livelihood Mission to help the FPC, created a mobile application for the residents of Gwalior to order vegetables, and provided a government building for packing, storing, and distribution of vegetables and other food items. The district administration has also replicated this initiative in other administrative blocks of Gwalior.

Ajit is a development consultant at the Tata Education and Development Trust, and a member of the research team at Vikasanvesh Foundation. Yogesh is the CEO of Madhya Bharat Consortium of Farmers Producer Company Limited. This story has been republished from Village Square. You can find the original piece here.

Know more: Read how India’s agricultural sector is projected to see a significant reduction in supply, demand, and value, and what can be done to safeguard farmers through it.

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