The prices of arecanut which once had skyrocketed to reach Rs. 90,000 per quintal is today hovering at around Rs. 30,000 per quintal. This at least is better compared to other perishable produce. Onion rates which had reached Rs. 100 per kilo is today available at Rs. 15 per kilo. There are numerous instances where tomatoes and such produce are thrown away on roads in Kolar, Uttar Pradesh and many other states. Farmers are forced to throw away their precious produce due to lack of sufficient remuneration to their efforts and produce.
Why does the price of these produces vary so randomly in the market? To understand this, we need to dwell over the demand and supply forces of economy. Whenever there is a drop in the supply of the produce in the market with the higher demand, the price shoots up as there is insufficient supply. When there is lesser demand with the increased supply of produce, there will be abundant of sellers and a smaller number of buyers and hence, prices crash. These are the forces which mainly determines the tariff for the produce.
Our traditional farmers have a peculiar mindset even to this day. They are not ready to come out of the loop of traditional produce. They do not make up their minds to try out products of variety. They have been growing the same crops from the time of their forefathers. However, many younger and tech savvy farmers are trying out new products of commercial importance of late.
One person named Raghu in Sagar taluk studied the market and started growing vanilla a few years ago. People made fun of him for trying to grow some less known crop and also had forecast his future to be miserable. But, to everyone’s surprise this was completely the opposite. He reaped heavy income the following year and people immediately started growing the same crop and to their unfortunate fate, the supply increased the next year and hence prices crashed. The person who made the best profit out of it was Raghu. This is the advantage of studying the market before sowing crops.
Usually, our farmers tend to grow crops post seeing the prices of this year but the market force doesn’t work out in this way. As many of the farmers grow the produce expecting a higher price, the supply increases which in turn leads to price reduction. Farmers have to learn to study the market for the produce and then start growing crops. It would be better had only a farmer could experiment few other crops too. There are many facilities provided by government and also private organizations where they test soil and suggest the crops which are well suitable. Soil card is one such initiative by the government. Many universities have been conducting researches like growing exotic vegetables like broccoli in the barren lands of North Karnataka. Few organizations have been providing plants which can be harvested in lesser number of years.
Business organizations usually thrive well for the same reason; they study the market to manufacture products corresponding to its demand and also make sure that they manufacture only those products which are needed for the market. Though we can’t exactly apply this strategy to agricultural field as there are external factors like climate and pest attacks, we can still look into the demand and decide what to grow and what not to.
After the green revolution era of the 20th century, the masses of the day are reverting back towards organic farming methods and techniques with the realization that organic farming is more productive on a long run. This is turning into a trend presently, where techies turn towards farming, organic farming in particular.
Gone are the days where a farmer can rely on a single crop. With the continuous change of environment and growth of resistant varieties of pests, any farmer can lead a stable life if only he considers multiple crop growth system with complementary organic farming which is in accordance to the demands of the market. Every farmer has to stay aware of this demand supply curve to gain more, lead a life of increased ease and comfort, increasing the standard of life and getting themselves out of poverty and misery. Government, NGOs, citizen centric organizations, CSR activities and individuals have to try to educate each and every farmer about this and serve the country in this way.