|Founder(s)||Madhavendra Kumar Thakur, Chairman|
|Date of Establishment||20th February 2021|
|Industrial Sector||Agriculture and Farming|
|Presence||Presence in Darbhanga, Madhubani, Saharsa, Supaul|
|Awards and Recognition||--|
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population. The Indian food industry is poised for huge growth, increasing its contribution to world food trade every year due to its immense potential for value addition, particularly within the food processing industry. Indian food and grocery market is the world’s sixth largest, with retail contributing 70% of the sales. The Indian food processing industry accounts for 32% of the country’s total food market, one of the largest industries in India and is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth. The total agricultural and allied products exports stood at US$ 41.25 billion in FY21.
With food being the crowning need of mankind, much emphasis has been on commercialising agricultural production. For this reason, adequate production and even distribution of food has of late become a high priority global concern. Agricultural marketing is mainly the buying and selling of agricultural products. In earlier days when the village economy was more or less self-sufficient the marketing of agricultural products presented no difficulty as the farmer sold his produce to the consumer on a cash or barter basis.
Today's agricultural marketing has to undergo a series of exchanges or transfers from one person to another before it reaches the consumer. There are three marketing functions involved in this, i.e., assembling, preparation for consumption and distribution. Selling on any agricultural produce depends on some couple of factors like the demand of the product at that time, availability of storage etc. The products may be sold directly in the market or it may be stored locally for the time being. Moreover, it may be sold as it is gathered from the field or it may be cleaned, graded and processed by the farmer or the merchant of the village. Sometime processing is done because consumers want it, or sometimes to conserve the quality of that product. The task of distribution system is to match the supply with the existing demand by whole selling and retailing in various points of different markets like primary, secondary or terminal markets. Most of the agricultural products in India are sold by farmers in the private sector to moneylenders (to whom the farmer may be indebted) or to village traders.
The sale of agricultural commodities can occur only in the mandis through auction. The sales process in mandis is regulated through commission agents (CAs) who mediate between the farmers and traders. Over half of the farmers, (57%) are unhappy with the mandi system of sale.
The reasons are exploitation by mediators, lower price realisation, lack of transparency in the trading process, collusion among traders, price cartelisation, delay in payments and low quality of mandi infrastructure. The delay in payments to the farmers ranges from three to fifty days. Instant payment is made only after deducting the interest on loans obtained by farmers from mediators. The payment delay forces the farmers to depend on borrowing from mediators, local money lenders and savings for their daily expenses.
Most farmers depend on mediators for credit, price information, transportation and storage. This suggests that farmers’ ability to take advantage of the new trading opportunities depends on the institutional conditions that control farm production. Therefore, there is a need of something that support and empower the farmers and reduce their dependence on mediators for agricultural support services. Then, the goal of freeing up the farmers from the clutches of mandis would become easier to achieve. Middle-men are everywhere there need to be something to end the middle-men.
As we have a tradition of agricultural production, marketing and allied commercial activities, now it is the time for us to brainstorm and come out with new ideas of value-added services. These value-added services will give the existing agricultural engine a new dimension. That will prevent the farmer from being exploited by the middle-men.
Because of all this the demand for digitisation in Indian agriculture is well-understood and acknowledged. The need of the professional guidance for post-harvest management services and efficient market linkages to the farmers for better price realization for their production is also seen. There is requirement of a solution which not only help farmers from being exploited by middle-men but also help in bridging market inadequacies.
MITHILA VEG UNION
Introducing MITHILA, started in 2021 "Mithila Veg Union" formed more than 50 Primary vegetable cooperative Societies with more than 2000 active members in the said region. Mithila Vegetable Processing and Marketing Co-operative Union Ltd is formed under the aegis of Bihar State Vegetables Processing and Marketing Scheme, Department of Co-operative, Government of Bihar.
While most aggrotech start-ups in India focus just on farmers, Mithila's USP (unique selling preposition) is that they focus on the entire value chain consisting of vegetable growers, vegetable processors, arhatiyas, and other mandi participants.
WHAT WE DO-
- To create a professional institution which provide post-harvest management services.
- To provide permanent marketing centres which help in bridging market inadequacies.
- To create efficient market linkages to the farmer for better price realization for their production.
- To ensure maximum outreach and impact at the base level through formation of three-tier cooperative structure to mobilize farmers and build their capacity.
- To Establish a farmers vegetable supply chain framework in and outside Bihar.
- Value addition by processing packaging and branding the product.
- Increase in vegetable production and productivity in the state.
- Bridging the demand and supply gap of fresh and quality vegetables and providing training and extension services to the vegetable growers.
- Minimizing the post-harvest losses by enhancing the product shelf life.
By creating an ecosystem for vegetable businesses to partner with multiple stakeholders and putting necessary infrastructure like Gramin Mandi, cold chain network in every primary vegetable cooperative society to reduce vegetable wastages.
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Kala Niketan Nov 24, 2022