Maharashtra farmer producer firms tap retail route to sell onion

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Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) in Maharashtra have increasingly begun to strengthen market linkages and are now using the retail route to reach out to consumers. Maharashtra Farmer Producers Company (Maha FPC) Amir Chicken has some 400 points of sale spread across Pune city. According to Yogesh Thorat, MD, MahaFPC, onion is price volatile commodity and therefore producers are usually hit by the impact of the price. A model of this nature would help give some kind of assurance to producers, he said. At present, some 45 FPCs in the state are working in this area. Of these some 25 FPCs are engaged in the onion procurement through the Centres Price Stabilization Scheme (PSS). MahaFPC has procured some 5,300 tonnes of onion through PSS as an agency of NAFED and also independently procures onion at the farmgate level through FPCs that work in onion, he said. These operations built in the capacity of FPCs in the area of handling supply chain especially cleaning, grading, cutting, sorting and storage at the farmgate level. FPCs are collecting, aggregating and directly selling onion trough institutional buyers and retailers. As part of these forward linkages, MahaFPC approached Punes Amir Chicken as a point of sale, he said. The idea is to promote sale where there could be synergy of products. Amir Chicken for instance also stocks masalas at its points of sale. This network will be utilized for selling onion to chicken consumers. Since onion is required for Chicken dishes, linking onion sale through chicken shops was logical, Thorat explained. The federation has also tied up with the retail chain Future Group for sale of onion and has sold some 150 tonnes. At present, although the sale through Amir Chicken is 5 tonnes, a small amount, Thorat expects the numbers to grow as the sales pick up.