Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has said that online grocery store Big Basket has expressed interest in collaborating with two organic farmers’ federations to supply and procure organic produce. The proposal is to supply and procure organic products including millets of approximately 800 metric tonnes, valued at INR 14.50 crore from the two federations. “Big Basket and Davangere and Chitradurga District Organic Farmers Federations have expressed interest in collaborating for supply and procurement of millets of approximately 500 metric tonnes, valued at INR 2.50 crore,” said Gowda.
Uttara Kannada District Organic Farmers Federation had expressed an intent to establish linkages with Big Basket for supply and procurement of approximately 300 metric tonnes of organic spices valued at INR 12 crore. The linkages would benefit the farmers’ group to obtain a price gain to the tune of 15-20 per cent over and above the prevalent market prices, informed Gowda.
“Big Basket intends to train farmer groups on grading, packing and quality aspects. The intention is also to enable farmers sell produce directly to consumers. Hence, both sides will explore options for co-branding as well. This is a big step towards ‘from-farmers-to-consumers’ direct linkage,” he added.
Other companies have also shown interest to tie up directly with farmer groups for procurement.
“Not only has a big online grocery retailer like Big Basket shown interest, small INR 100-crore companies also are keen to procure organic produce from farmers. There are many names, but I wouldn’t like to divulge them now. Will do so when deals materialise,” he commented.
The minister said that the collaboration is a “win-win” proposition for both sides, as this would help overcome the problem of middlemen, which would benefit farmers and consumers Farmers will get good remuneration from online grocery retailers. The retailers will sell the produce at cheaper rates.
He said that the government is also trying to woo fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies, who haven’t been doing any business in organic produce. “FMCG companies ITC and MTR have shown keen interest in doing business in organic products, especially millets. They had attended an interactive session with government officials recently,” stated Gowda.
Their participation is expected to bolster efforts to popularise millets and other organic produce. “Our intention is to expose small and marginal farmers to national level markets, and that is also the intention of grocery retailers and companies,” added Gowda.