This small booklet, presenting a few successful and inspiring cases of direct marketing by farmers, retail marketing for organic produce and an emerging Community Supported Agriculture model, is meant to showcase the possibilities that exist with such enterprises. The possibilities are related to both production-end issues as well as consumption-end. The objective however is to ensure that agri-producers have a better deal when they negotiate with markets and that consumers have access to safe, diverse and nutritious food, in addition to making informed choices regarding their buying behavior (choices that determine sustainability and safety around food consumption).
The idea for this booklet emerged from inspiring case studies presented in a workshop called “Markets That Empower Farmers & Consumers” organized in Bhubaneswar by Xavier Institute of Management-Bhubaneswar and ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) in 2012.
We often come across people who want to do something to support the cause of organic farming and farmers’ livelihoods. We had conceived this book as a sort of a manual – not a strict, step-by-step prescriptive manual, but something that would leave behind a set of ideas from real life experiences of some entrepreneurs who tried out many things. The narration is by the entrepreneurs themselves sharing their stories. We hope that the principles and values at work here will be adopted, with the full understanding and appreciation that each situation requires its own local
models to be adopted.
This booklet is also to present possibilities with alternative perspectives of markets. Mainstream markets function with certain core beliefs – that scale matters; that measuring the success of an enterprise is by looking at profits earned; that competition is necessary and good, that bottom line is all that matters – to name a few. They also claim that the ‘customer is the king’. That price determination is done by demand and supply forces. However, here are examples of how this paradigm has been turned on its head. While some might write these off as isolated experiments and experiences and therefore not scalable, we believe that a multitude of such small scale initiatives is indeed possible, to improve the livelihoods situation of many farmers even as they provide healthy food to ‘empowered’ consumers.
PLEASE DOWNLOAD THE BOOKLET HERE.
Sreedevi Lakshmi Kutty