India: Maharashtra appoints farm trade representatives to helps growers

Nashik onion growers have always wondered how the onion they produce and sell at Lasalgaon’s market, fetches more than double that price for traders who sell in markets of Chennai or Delhi. The key factor that allows traders to corner higher profits is their in-depth knowledge of markets and their access to market intelligence.

It was this market intelligence which the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) wanted to tap when it became the first such Board in the country to appoint trade representative in other states to help Maharashtra's farmers sell their produce in markets outside the state.

Sunil Pawar, Managing Director of the Board, pointed out how the promotion of domestic inter-state trade had often taken a back seat to export promotions from the perspective of increasing earnings of farmers. “The fact is that inter-state trade is much larger than exports both in terms of volume and value. However, it is in the hands of traders who have developed the supply chains over the last many years,” he told

“But it is the traders who control the trade. So if they have to send onions from Lasalgaon in Nashik to say the Kohima in Nagaland, the supply chain is only known to them. Farmers or farmer groups who wish to tap these markets would certainly be at a disadvantage,” he explained.

“This scheme needs to be taken up at the national level. We hope the central government would pitch in with a similar scheme at the national level which would see states appointing officers in other states to find markets for their farmers. Thus, if officers from Maharashtra are appointed in Rajasthan to find markets for their onion growers, officers from Rajasthan can be appointed here to find markets for their mustard or wheat growers. Overall, it will help farmers better access to markets thus enabling them to double their income,” Pawar concluded.

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