ASI recognizes the importance of addressing both social and economic constraints to market participation and empowerment to bring about sustainable, positive change in emerging economies

August 2017

 

Making Farmers Market Ready in India


ASI partners with private sector companies in India to support smallholder producers in their supply chains to improve their livelihoods by increasing on farm productivity, demand driven crop planning, promoting gender equity on the farm and in the household, and increasing farmer access to markets. ASI’s private sector clients in India include Walmart India, Callison, Wrigley, and MARS. Other ASI partners in India include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).


MARKET READY METHODOLOGY

The infographic below details the methodology ASI uses to link farmers to markets by facilitating coordination with buyers to establish long term win-win relationships that increase farmer incomes and provide buyers with a reliable supply of quality agricultural produce:



  1. Group Organization: An important precondition for farmer market readiness is the ability to operate at a scale that makes sense for the market. ASI helps farmers meet this precondition by organizing farmers into groups. ASI’s approach builds trust from the outset -- ASI extension staff conduct week long “night camps” where they live with the farmers in their village to meet with village leaders and influential farmers, visit local farms, conduct soil tests and arrange for local theatre productions that highlight the value of working together as an aggregated market actor.

  2. Market Linkages & Demand Driven Farm Planning: ASI facilitates meetings amongst buyers and farmers prior to the planting season so that buyers can inform farmers of their demand for produce to see if farmers are interested in supplying for that demand. Buyers share information about the type quality and quantities of produce they are looking to purchase, as well as the prices they are willing to pay. This demand and price discovery discussion then allows the farmer groups to determine which products they want to plant and which crop rotation will maximize the potential income for the group.

  3. Productivity Enhancement: In order for farmer producer groups to achieve the quantity and quality of products needed to supply the buyers, ASI extension staff help farmers to learn about and adopt proven best agronomic practices. And the best way to prove the effectiveness and efficiency of different agronomic techniques is for the farmers to see it for themselves through demonstration plots where farmers are trained on techniques and technologies that improve yields and decrease the cost of cultivation allowing farmers to grow quality produce they can sell for a premium to wholesale and retail markets.

  4. Aggregation and Postharvest: ASI works with farmer groups to establish aggregation centers in central locations where farmers are able to bulk their produce. Farmers learn how to grade, sort, and pack produce to increase profits and reduce postharvest losses.

  5. Price Discovery: Farmer groups receive weekly price updates via text messages from buyers detailing the type and quantity of produce desired, which allows the farmers to negotiate with various buyers and find the best value for their produce.

WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT TRAINING

Research indicates that when women participate in household decision-making, the family is more likely to have better nutrition and invest in the health of the family. ASI seeks to empower women in their communities by engaging both men and women in the community to discuss the benefits of shared household decision making.


LEVERAGING GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES FOR INFRASTRUCTURE

The government of India is progressive in offering subsidies to help smallholders access improved farm technologies and infrastructure at discounted prices. Although there are many programs available both locally and nationally, farmers are often unaware of these opportunities. ASI facilitates the connection between the farmers and the government to allow farmers to access these programs that help reduce the cost of cultivation through mechanization, reduce postharvest losses through improved storage and post-harvest facilities, and improve yields through superior inputs.


EXPERIENCE IN ANDHRA PRADESH

Since January 2013, ASI has been working on the market readiness of farmers in Andhra Pradesh.






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