Shifting demand towards high value agriculture and higher quality of produce
Greater urban demand
The move of large corporations into agricultural marketing
- Shifting demand towards high value agriculture and higher quality of produce
- Greater urban demand
- The move of large corporations into agricultural marketing
The Project would support models that allow farmers to obtain a larger slice of the retail rupee by fostering the establishment of forward linkages and the emergence of balanced, efficient and open supply chains. Doing so would open up a “third marketing front”, besides existing regulated markets and direct purchase arrangements. The direct purchase arrangements as currently pursued by large corporations also run the risk of excluding small farmers and potentially marginalizing farmers into becoming providers of raw materials in closed supply chains. The project offers the prospects of both improved prices for producers and increased productivity that better match with consumer demand. The farmers should be enabled to tune their production to changes in demand and to take advantage of new and alternative marketing channels as well as the potential of new technologies.
The Government Of Maharashtra (GoM) has already initiated actions to implement Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) model of agricultural extension in all the 33 districts of the State. The ATMA model was introduced in Ahmednagar, Amravati, Aurangabad and Ratnagiri districts under the aegis of the National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) from 1998 to 2004. It was extended to 19 districts, including previous four ATMAs, in 2005-07 under centrally sponsored scheme “Support to Extension Program for Extension Reforms”. The remaining 14 districts have adopted the ATMA model of extension during 2007-08.
Marketing extension employs the same best practices as in production extension, in that it focuses on enabling farmers to learn for themselves (i.e. experiential learning) but the focus is on empowering producers to be able to engage directly with the market. The processes normally involve the extension officer taking a group of farmers through a semi-structured training course. Topics include resources audit, simple economic and costing analysis, carrying out own market research, direct interaction with the traders, training in post-harvest handling and marketing planning. There is a need to include traceability, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards in the training programs for line department staff and farmers.
This component will facilitate intensification and diversification of production by:
- Making extension and adaptive research more relevant and accessible to farmers
- Encouraging the introduction and adoption of more effective agricultural production systems
- Reducing the risk associated with change, especially for small operators
- Focusing on marketing extension
The 'Project Component A' seeks to focus on the strengthening ATMA program to facilitate market-led extension. This will call for reorientation of the extension functionaries to focus on improved productivity, quality, market information and improved methods of marketing based on the updated market information and intelligence. This renewed focus on ATMA extension system would necessitate strengthening ATMA by institution and operation, making them vibrant and efficient to face the emerging challenges in agricultural production, marketing and agri-business.
The focus would be on ways and means for developing and strengthening interdepartmental linkages to support not only Farmers Common Service centers (FCSC) but also for providing support to the farmers in all the districts to achieve increased income from their land based occupations involving crops, horticulture and livestock. The effort would be to implement ATMA program as an integrated, demand-led and farmer-centered program of all line departments with special focus on marketing extension in all the districts of the state.
The SREPs for all the districts in Maharashtra have recently been prepared and cover the production aspects of field crops, vegetable, fruit, ornamental, spices and medicinal plants and livestock. Under this Project the Marketing Strategy Supplement (MSS) to the SREP will be prepared for each district focusing on what needs to be done to improve market-led production, marketing related training of line department staff and farmers and linkages with the investments proposed for improving marketing infrastructure under Component B of the Project.