In India, we produce the staples rice and wheat more than demand. If something is produced more than demand, how will it get a fair price in the market? Without having a fair price to a produce, how can one continuously produce it and take it as a livelihood. This is the scenario and our approach goes as below.
We were practicing multi-crops and proper crop rotation in our farms earlier. Nothing was produced keeping the market in mind. We produced for food our own usage, to feed the cattle and the rest went to the market. Now if we want to sell all the produce to the market, where does the market exists?
Local production and local consumption concept has gone. We stopped producing for own consumption and started producing crops which we can sell for cash. We never calculated the returns in agriculture like how we do now. The returns in the past were enough food for the family, togetherness because of joint families, healthy long life, living closer to nature, minimum revenue to look after the farm and family needs. The returns now we expect from farming is money! With money we think we can buy everything to run a better life.
With this background how we can build market options for farm produce is to be analyzed. At present we encourage farmers to move towards toxic free farming and it can be the reason for them to claim fair price. As health awareness is picking up in India, organic produce is receiving fair price in urban areas.
We also encourage farmers to develop a local market of their own friends, relatives and neighbours. Say there are 10 farmers in a farmers group. Each one of them should have ten contacts and the market is 10 farmers x 10 contacts = 100 customers.