Thursday, 10 May 2018

The Master Post on Everything you need to Know about Agriculture in India

Again, a Work-in-Progress post, where I dump everything of relevance. No, the heading is not presumptuous at all.

Source 1: A deceptive-looking useful document prepared by a Foretell Business Solutions Private Ltd. in collaboration with ICRISAT. A Guide to Linking Farmers to Markets - Concepts and Case Studies.

Rao, P., Basavaraj, G., & Foretell Business Solutions (P) Ltd. (2013). A Guide to Linking Farmers to Markets - Concepts and Case Studies. (Research Program on Markets, Institutions and Policy (MIP), ICRISAT, Issue brief). ICRISAT. Retrieved May 10, 2018, from

Based on operating location, markets in India can be divided into -

  1. Village markets - allows for direct transactions between farmer and consumer.
  2. Primary markets - located in towns near the area of agricultural production - typically would involve farmers or traders bringing product for sale.
  3. Secondary wholesale markets - located at sub/district level, away from area of agricultural production. Transaction takes place between trader and wholesaler. E.g. APMC mandis
  4. Terminal markets - in larger cities where the produce is dumped for sale to final consumer or for export. E.g. Azadpur mandi in Delhi
I just realised a Value chain is a specific kind of marketing system. This, after doing a six month project evaluating whether a project looking at integrating value-chains had robust processes. In a traditional marketing systems, there is just a 'push' from one player to another - farmers produce commodities that are sold to the final consumer through a chain of intermediaries, and there are spot transactions. Farmers have no control over prices they receive.

In contrast, in a 'value-chain' market system, the farmer is apparently tuned into the needs of the consumer, and works closely with suppliers and processors to get the product to the consumers. Hence finance, R&D, seeds, irrigation, risk management tools etc. are inputs for farmers, they are in close contact with processors and manufacturers, who in turn are in close contact with retailers and exports who in turn provide the good to the consumers. This is true for a traditional  marketing system as well. In a value chain marketing system, there is additional bi-directionality in terms of flow of information from consumers to retailers/ exporters to processors/ manufacturers to farmers to suppliers/ finance/ agri scientists etc. [This could be overall framework for our study].

The issue is basically - how to integrate the small farmer into the value chain? [Since small farmers dominate in eastern UP]
There are essentially various ways to do that (say contract farming, FPOs etc. which are forms of marketing channels). But in terms of basic steps, the following are needed - some form of collective marketing that can graduate to full collective enterprise. The idea is to enable aggregation of produce, basic processing (procurement, sorting, grading and cleaning) and negotiation with traders. Can also pool capital, share risks, and benefits. Additionally, makes it easier to have basic infra like weighing machine, drying platform, storage platform etc. Training may be needed for providing marketing skills and partnerships with the private sector may help have assured market.

Looking at the actual models of marketing these may be -
Contract farming: 

You know there are times when sex selection works in favour of females?
For cows.
When I say 'couple', I mean two. Is that not the correct usage? 

Living at home

I don't know what it is about living at home that makes me a complete and utter bitch. And I have just lived alone for a year; so what could have happened in the meantime, such that everything my parents do, now grates on my nerves?

I mean, my bad mood at them is not even related to them pestering me about marriage. It could be an innocuous question about where I'm going and what time I will be back (and really, where do I even go except for work meetings), or some long discussion about something I said myself (say I described a particularly idiosyncratic colleague to my mother and she repeats that to my father, in front of me, with inadvertent inaccuracies or deliberate embellishments), or just some wishful thinking on the part of my mother - about how she would come with me if I moved back to Chennai.

All of it, for some reason, feels like a violation of my life and personal space. And all this talk makes me feel weirdly nauseous, like the walls are closing in.

And they haven't even done anything wrong.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Reasons to love Delhi (again)

This is a Work-in-Progress list that will get updated as and when yours truly has a moment of doting fondness for the city where, among other things, she was born, brought up and groped.

  • The pink coloured vikram that has 'Dekh mat pagli, pyar ho jayega' as its bumper sticker.
  • The stories I have already eavesdropped on, with three days of stepping out - one of them was to do with someone trying to remember their past life while being 'hypnotised'.
  • The campus. The iced tea. The coffee sprinkled with cocoa powder.
  • Trying to park in a clearly demarcated no-parking zone, being told not to by the security guard even though other cars are also flouting the rule because in his words, they belong to the Judge sahab and CEO sahab.
  • The possibility of having an office space in the Statesman House. However remote.
  • The scribbling on the newly white-washed walls of CP, advertising for 'Tel Maalish'.
  • The fares demanded by auto-wallahs, that now seem reasonable to a person who thinks of herself as partially belonging to the land of the worst auto drivers.
  • The conversations between Very Fancy People at restaurants located in Important Cultural Hubs about National Events of Importance that sound like gossip about friends, relatives and acquaintances.
  • The Delhi metro and the city's unrelenting attitude of 'Have space, will use it'. Even a hitherto nondescript metro station (INA) can, over a year, when you didn't check in, be transformed into an important interchange. Or be used as a commercial space with mushrooming offices and co-working spaces.
  • The feeling of being 'settled in' when a 40 minute metro ride starts looking like a short commute again.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Blog B-Day

It's the sixth B-Day of the blog and the poor thing has been sitting ignored for a while. No longer. This blog gets active this week! With less self censoring! And probably ever more limited readership!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

I told a bunch of people I will write a book in five years so now I have to at least try.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Re this post, I have now realised that reading everything on everything is impossible when you have a full-time job, a love for fan-fiction and everything frivolous, and live in this current era.

Hence I have decided my areas of interest are:

  1. Indian agriculture
  2. Renewable energy 
  3. Macro-economics  
  4. International politics

Monday, 25 December 2017

Of News and Other Stuff S02 E05

  • I can't seem to lie to younger people about the supposed lameness of the work they (we) do. Which must be a problem if I want to rise up the ladder. So much of our work depends on morale after all, and inspiring people to carry on with the necessary drudgery.
  • I am sick and tired of the development sector positing women's empowerment as necessary to advance overall development goals. Increase women's participation in the workforce for greater economic growth. Provide women with nutrition/ education because feeding/ educating the woman means feeding/ educating the entire family. Play on the family's overarching concern about the women's izzat to further sanitation goals. Gender equality is important because it's a 'smart development strategy' (World Bank Gender Strategy, 2016-23). It's annoying that the welfare of half of the world's population only matters to the extent that it benefits 'everyone'. And by everyone, I definitely mean men.
  • There is an actual World Bank guidance note that puts it out there that construction workers are young males and labour influx on account of new investment projects can lead to inappropriate and criminal behaviour from these men against local women and girls. See here. There does not seem to be any associated evidence given in favour of such a position.
  • There is an Indian task fulfillment app called Dunzo, and is currently being supported by Google to raise funding. I am proud that a presumably lazy person with a love for Parks and Rec is doing so well.