Ag Tech News

Farmers Must Make the Best of ‘Farm to Home’ Concept

- Dr Shivendra Bajaj, Executive Director, Federation of Seed Industry of India and Alliance for Agri Innovation

The 'Farm to home’ concept is gaining popularity across the world as it can connect consumers directly with the producers. This helps consumers to raise their concerns about the purity and safety of the food they procure. They can be aware of the conditions and locations, where the vegetable, fruits, grains, and even dairy products they consume daily are grown in. Besides the huge demand for such products, people in urban areas want to contribute to the empowerment of rural communities. This complements the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative that is put forward by the Government.

‘Farm to home’ has been trending since the Covid-19 pandemic as people became more aware of the quality and nutritional values of food for good health, immunity and are willing to pay for the value of the product. There is an increasing perception that food can be low quality if not purchased carefully. In the current scenario, there is no transparency due to the presence of middlemen and a lack of information on where agricultural produce is procured from. Transparency has caught the attention of startups and small companies and has benefited the farmers too.

Globally, consumers are trying to consume sustainable foods that are healthy as well as ecologically responsible. This takes them to seek the purchase of food from reliable suppliers so that food is nutrient-rich and chemical-free. Such consumers are the ideal market for the 'farm to home’ concept. Also, elders living alone and people with medical conditions and disabilities can become independent for their food requirements.All types of consumers can become part of such a value chain and their demands are not restricted to just vegetables and fruits but also to dairy and processed food. The situation is changing and the demand for safe and naturally grown grains, pulses, spices, edible oils is increasing. Consumers will always give top priority to procure directly from the farms.

All this offers a great opportunity for farmers to enhance their income by participating in the 'farm to home’ initiative. To participate in the said initiative, farmers will have to think beyond conventional ways, upgrade their farming operations and adopt mobile technology to communicate with consumers in cities. There are examples in India where farmers have made direct contact with consumers, who get fertiliser-less, locally-grown, farm-fresh produce.Some are even using the social media platforms to inform consumers about fresh harvests and to receive orders.Such farmers with different crop produce meet at a pre-decided point so they could transport their produce to cities together. Both farmers and consumers save money that otherwise would go to wholesalers and commission agents in the traditional supply chain. Farmers living on the fringe of cities can adopt the 'farm to home' concept easily.

Besides farmers, youths can seek employment opportunities under this concept. They can take care of transporting agricultural produce to cities. They have fair chances of growth in areas where e-commerce activities are not active and strong. Moreover, they can earn a livelihood by assisting less-educated or technologically-illiterate farmers in handling orders on mobiles or adopting technological solutions to produce food in accordance with consumers’ choices.

While there are startups working on the 'farm to home' concept, there is a need to have farmers adopt and adapt to the concept. Besides enhancing their income, this will help farmers become less dependent on market forces and improve their livelihoods. They will come in direct contact with consumers, thus the quick feedback would help them decide which crops and varieties are in demand and would fetch better prices. It will facilitate them to think beyond the box and explore new ideas to incorporate into their farming operations, which can help them earn more money. Such efforts will contribute to the government's efforts to enhance farm income and boost the ‘Atmanirbhar’ campaign.


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