Successful marketing of watermelon by local farmers in Orissa, under SAFAL initiative of Vedanta University Project
03/30/2010

For the first time, farmers of Kabirajpur village, Puri have successfully sold 5.4 metric tonne of watermelon at their door step through an institutional process, at a total price of Rs. 18, 900/-, setting a benchmark in watermelon marketing in the area. This marketing has been done by the Baba Beleswar Krushak Samabaya Ltd, Chaitana, a farmers' cooperative formed under the livelihood initiative SAFAL of Vedanta University Project with the help of ACCESS, the technical service provider. The farmers could sell watermelon at a price of Rs. 3500/- per metric tonne, as against the price of Rs. 3000/-, normally offered by the local traders. The watermelon was procured by the cooperative, which was later sold at Bhubaneswar.

Online PR News – 30-March-2010 – – For the first time, farmers of Kabirajpur village, Puri have successfully sold 5.4 metric tonne of watermelon at their door step through an institutional process, at a total price of Rs. 18, 900/-, setting a benchmark in watermelon marketing in the area. This marketing has been done by the Baba Beleswar Krushak Samabaya Ltd, Chaitana, a farmers' cooperative formed under the livelihood initiative SAFAL of Vedanta University Project with the help of ACCESS, the technical service provider. The farmers could sell watermelon at a price of Rs. 3500/- per metric tonne, as against the price of Rs. 3000/-, normally offered by the local traders. The watermelon was procured by the cooperative, which was later sold at Bhubaneswar.

The spot determination of price was done at the village itself. This marketing of watermelon was facilitated by Vedanta University Project under its SAFAL initiative. The main objective of this marketing was to avoid distress sale of watermelon, to provide a market to the small and marginal farmers at their door step and to get them some instant income in order to meet the current farming cost. The farmers' co-operative, Baba Beleswar Krushak Samabaya Ltd could familiarize itself with the entire process of institutional marketing like, listing of the farmer's name and the quantity of watermelon to be sold, contacting the buyer, arranging things at the watermelon collection point, listing of the sale price, etc.

This marketing process has been very encouraging to all concerned. Prashanta Nayak of Kabirajpur village, one of the farmers who has sold his watermelon says, "For the first time we have received a good price, in fact Rs. 500/- more than what the local traders offer. This marketing process has given us a lot of confidence. We have learnt how to sell our farm produce at a better price".

It can be recalled that the main objective of the SAFAL initiative of Vedanta University Project is to increase the family income of small and marginal farmers, empower them through institutionalized community structures (farmer's SHGs, Cooperatives, etc), facilitate their negotiation of key linkages in the value chains and thus, mainstream them. So far, 110 Farmers' Self Help Groups (FSHGs) have been formed under this initiative comprising 1516 farmers from 23 different villages. 2 cooperatives, namely, Jaya Jagannath Krushak Samavaya Ltd and Baba Beleswar Krushak Samabaya Ltd and 6 farmers' clubs with the support of NABARD have also been formed.

It is worth mentioning here that Vedanta University Project under the SAFAL initiative has been working immensely towards the upliftment of the farmers by providing them all technical support through ACCESS, the technical service provider for SAFAL and by organizing various facility visits of the farmers to various cooperatives so that they can learn and acquire new farming techniques for better production. Recently, Vedanta University Project's SAFAL along with Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) organized an exposure visit for a team of 28 persons including 13 Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs), 12 Anganwadi Workers, 1 supervisor and 2 SAFAL officials to Warangal, Andhra Pradesh. During the trip, they visited the Self Help Dairy Cooperatives promoted by Cooperative Development Foundation and Wardhanapet Swakrushi Dairy Cooperative at Warangal apart from a few milk collection centers. During the visit, the members of the WSHGs gained valuable information on milk production, collection, processing and marketing. Mrs. Pramila Mohanty of Chaitana village under Gop block, a participant of the exposure trip says, "The visit has immensely helped us to facilitate and strengthen the Women dairy Cooperative that we are planning to form in the Gop block with the support of ICDS, Veterinary Department and SAFAL".

Source: www.orissadiary.com