Maharashtra government to provide wider markets for tribal farmers' produce

Maharashtra government to provide wider markets for tribal farmers' produce

With a view towards improving tribal farmers’ income from farm produce, the state government’s tribal development department will now provide them wider markets through various institutions.

At a seminar on Friday to discuss issues linked with improved farming techniques alongside conventional methods and better developed markets for tribals’ produce, organisations working in the field and experts discussed methods to give a fillip to means of livelihood for tribal communities.

Trilochan Sastri, founder of the Centre for Collective Development, presented various measures that could be implemented to bring tribal farm produce into urban markets. Reducing production cost through modern farming methods was also suggested as a means to improve profits.

Officials said the idea of setting up farmer producer companies for better marketing of tribal produce, and enabling these companies to function more effectively with help from organisations working in the field was welcomed by all.

Training to farmers, improving the scale of production, and adding modern technology to traditional farming were discussed. Other measures to be considered are strengthening farmers’ association, improving participation of women in agriculture, cultivation of soya bean, strawberries, betel nut, ragi, mango, cashew and vegetables. Manisha Verma, Principal Secretary of the tribal development department, said the government is committed to understanding tribal farmers’ problems and to resolving them.

Also present were tribal farmers from Dhule, Nandurbar and Yavatmal who discussed agriculture-related problems, including the widespread prevalence of entirely rainfed agriculture.

Among the groups that discussed views on overall development of tribal farmers were Mind Tree, BAIF, Tata Trust and Program on Climate Sensitive Agriculture.

Representatives of Tata Trust described efforts to improve farm incomes in Dhadgaon and Akkalkuwa through their ‘Lakhpati Kisan’ scheme.