Such outlets to come up in Bangalore city and three other districts

In two to three months, you can buy fresh vegetables directly from farmers at the “farmer-to-consumer” sales outlets to be opened on the premises of petrol stations in Bangalore city and the neighbouring districts of Ramanagaram, Kolar and Chickballapur.

A proposal by the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore to allow farmers to set up direct sales counters on the premises of petrol outlets as a marketing strategy to help farmers to get the full share of profits by preventing middlemen has been accepted by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Wednesday, UAS-B Vice-Chancellor K. Narayana Gowda said, to begin with, these direct sales counters would be set up on an experimental basis only in the above areas.

They would come up in other districts depending upon the success of the pilot scheme.

He said the university had also submitted a concept paper to Mr. Moily on the proposal that had been taken up to promote direct marketing by farmers as part of efforts to make agriculture a profitable venture by increasing their incomes.

The university was experimenting with different possibilities of direct marketing to help improve the economic condition of farmers by finding a solution to the problems of agriculture marketing on the occasion of its year-long golden jubilee celebrations set to begin from June.

While the modalities of the proposed outlets are still being worked out, Mr. Gowda indicated that they might be run by farmers’ themselves by forming groups. “We are exploring the idea of representatives of farmers’ groups running these outlets in a professional manner and passing on the entire profit to the growers,” he said.

Pointing out that presently farmers (those who supply their produce to markets) were getting a maximum share of only 30 per cent of profits due to the middlemen menace, he said the profits were expected to nearly double to 50 to 60 per cent if they sold their produce directly. .

He expressed confidence that the proposed outlets would attract consumers as the prices of vegetables there were expected to be lower than the regular outlets due to direct marketing. Besides, having these outlets on the premises of petrol outlets may reduce overhead costs and bring in great convenience to consumers.

Marketing complex

Meanwhile, the university is also establishing a marketing complex on its campus here to not only provide space for farmers to market their produce, but also evolve strategies that can help prevent the middlemen menace.

In addition, the university is considering convincing farmers’ groups to set up series of direct marketing outlets at vantage locations along the highways in the above four districts, including the Bangalore–Mysore highway, to sell locally important produce.

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