Food products of all kinds are so easily available to us that we hardly think about the hard work that went behind producing them. Their journey from farms to the local markets or superstores and then our homes involves a long chain of production, distribution and supply. Although India is predominantly an agrarian economy, the irony is that our food producers or farmers that lay at the beginning of this chain are the most exploited ones and are usually the poorest.
What is a food supply chain?
A food supply chain is a series of activities involving how food reaches from the farms to our tables. The food grown by producers or farmers in the villages goes through as many as four stages before reaching us, the consumers. These stages involve processing, distribution and retailing.
FARMER PROCESSOR DISTRIBUTOR RETAILER CONSUMER
The people involved in the stages between the producer and the consumer are the middle-men. The food supply chain impacts the social, economic and environmental sustainability of rural communities in a crucial way.
Issues with the food supply chain in India
The existing scenario of food supply has too many middle-men involved at various stages and the connection between them is weak. This setup is especially difficult for farmers whose profit margins are cut down at each stage. The middle-men and agents often exploit them by not presenting the true value of goods. The absence of demand forecasting, information sharing and management of produce transportation leads to a supply-demand mismatch causing wastage of harvest. India is the world’s second largest producer of fruits and vegetables after China. However, almost 30% of the produce goes to waste because of the shortage of warehouses in our country. Farmers have no option but to sell their harvest to the middle-men at low prices.
The food producers also have to deal with natural disasters like droughts, cyclones, locust attacks, forest fires and floods that can have long term impacts on crops and trees. They have to take loans to make up for their losses, leading to an added pressure. Farmers end up getting poorly paid for their produce, severely affecting their livelihood as well as their motivation. They are caught in a vicious trap of multiple debts, leading to mental health issues among them.
How is GramYumm helping farmers with the supply chain issue?
We at GramYumm are deeply involved in uplifting rural economy by supporting the livelihoods of farmers in a sustainable way. We provide them with fruit seeds and saplings to plant on their lands. Upon maturing, the harvest from those trees is an extra source of income for them. By eliminating middle-men and sourcing products directly from the villages, we ensure that the entire profit margin goes to the farmers. We also provide villages with solar dryers for dehydrating fruit products to increase their shelf life and make their transportation easier. Apart from buying products from GramYumm, you can also support our farmer beneficiaries by planting trees with us. Follow the link: https://sankalptaru.org/location
It is our duty to make sure that our food providers themselves live a healthy and happy life.