Yes, there are opportunities within the Green Revolution. But only for the middlemen that is. What was at one time the backbone of our country – is now slowly turning out to be the knife at the nape of an urban consumer. Yes, vegetables; I mean just look at the way the staples cost these days in our cities!
And does anyone realize the helplessness of the stakeholders against the tight grip of the middlemen who do nothing but simply carry the rural products from villages to our cities?
Here are some startling numbers revealing the impact that – yes you guessed it right – the middlemen make in between the rural & urban markets of India.
Margins of over 300% at almost every step only prove the ailing nature of logistical infrastructure in our country. But wait a minute! Is this the silver lining for those who are interested in starting off the rural landscape? Aren’t there people who are interested in creating a value driven distribution system using technology, sense and perseverance to strike that perfect connection between the two markets? And help us lower the cost of the vegetables?
It’d not be out of place to mention here that every time there is an imbalance in a system, there is an uprising which leads to a final betterment of the ecosystem. Sometimes even dangerously. In the instant case, a great example for investors, entrepreneurs and ‘ruralists’ to follow is that of Amul. We need similar networking ( or even bigger ) to disentangle our staples from the state-owned networks of stale minds.
Using technology, internet and every other cost effective measure to lower or even eliminate the middlemen in the process will serve our country good. And profit too. In fact I did some rough calculations myself:
Only brinjals (Eggplant) can serve one a profit of Rs. 22 per kg but for an efficient distribution system. That is when one does not lower the cost of brinjals sold in the market. And our farmers produce approximately 8.2 million tonnes of brinjals every year. One vegetable, one surprise.
My personal opinion is that the government is not in a position to (rather will not want to) solve this. The failed (or rather suppressed) beginnings of Reliance Fresh, Spencers and Subiksha only show the edge of blade held by the legacy system. I would further this, by adding that only the underdogs (read startup-like people) with little visibility have some chance in cleaning up the mess. Or if one could bring Mr. Kurien on board to leave the milk behind and play with veggies this time.
What say eh :-)?
Photo Credit: Tehelka