After running farmers’ markets in Mumbai and Pune, Swami Samarath Farmers Producers Company (FPC) will be starting an exclusive market for organic produce every Sunday at Nariman Point.
After successfully running multiple farmers’ markets in Mumbai and Pune, Swami Samarath Farmers Producers Company (FPC) will be starting an exclusive market for organic produce from December 12. Narendra Pawar, director of the company, said the market will be held every Sunday at the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre in Mumbai’s Nariman Point.
To begin with, the market would see 35 groups participating with around 35 tonnes of goods. Pawar said organic produce, both perishable and non-perishable, had faced a set-back due to lack of proper market linkages. Farmers who take the initiative to certify their produce as organic are forced to sell their produce at lower-than-expected prices as proper linkage is not available to them.
“The market chain also makes the mistake of transporting organic and non-organic produce in the same ref van, which totally violates the concept of organic produce,” he said. The lack of proper pricing and market had seen many farmers and groups exiting the organic value chain en masse.
Pawar said the decision to start a farmer’s weekly market for organic produce was the result of customer demand. However, before embarking on the endeavour, he said they made it clear that they would only accept produce from farmers or farmer groups certified by the authorities. Farmers would carry their certificate and display the same in the market for verification.
Other than directly selling to consumers, Pawar said they will be holding a special B2B (business to business) market for wholesalers. This would be held at Vashi’s wholesale market under the NAFED e-kisan mandi scheme. Such a market, he explained, would allow farmers to get the confidence to sell in bulk. Most farmers prefer to sell in bulk, especially those who grow pulses, jowar, oilseeds etc. “There is enthusiasm among farmers, groups from Osmanabad, Aurangabad and other places. However, we have made certification compulsory,” he said. Besides fruits and vegetables, the consumer market will also have processed and ready-to-eat food.
On pricing, Pawar said it will be higher than that of normally available produce. “We have to understand that the whole value chain for organic is different. Also, transport and handling charges would be higher,” he pointed out. Asked about plans to scale up, he said it would take time as a lot of farmers had veered away from organic and to bring them back, one needs to assure a market.
First published by Indian Express on November 27, 2021