ASHA & XIM-B to organise a workshop on “markets that empower farmers (and consumers)”


It is widely acknowledged by civil society groups seeking to improve agricultural livelihoods on the ground, that interventions have to focus on re-casting particular technological approaches (towards low-external-input, low-risk, diversity-based sustainable farming) as well as ensuring remunerative markets for the outputs from farming. It is also well-appreciated that grassroots institutions of farmers, especially the marginalized, are a sustainable means towards such livelihoods improvement.

When it comes to Markets, the current paradigm (which encompasses a general macro-economic policy approach and environment of GDP-led growth, privatization, globalization etc. and specifically, domestic pricing and procurement policies in agriculture, as well as international trade policies/rules) is further contributing to an existing crisis in the farm sector resulting from high-external-input, intensive agriculture. Together, the technological paradigm and the market paradigm end up in unremunerative returns to our farmers, especially the (rainfed) smallholders.

Addressed through strong farmer-led collectives, both production and post-production asymmetries pitted against smallholders today can be changed to improve the livelihoods of farmers (along the entire chain)[1] as initiatives are showing here and there. Markets in this paradigm will have farmers determining a fair and remunerative price for themselves, even as the quality of agricultural produce (diversity, nutrition and safety) will benefit consumers too.

To understand the processes that would create such a paradigm shift better, ASHA (Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture) would be organizing a national workshop in collaboration with Xavier’s Institute of Management-Bhubaneswar, to bring together practitioners, activists and academics together onto a joint platform, for cross-learning and for evolving ideas for future work[2]. This is particularly in the context of organic markets, where some experiences of entrepreneurs emerged from the retail end, while some others, mostly of NGOs, from the farm/farmers’ end.

A platform that allows for cross-learning, learning from mistakes and failures, that facilitates field level insights informing academic discourse, that highlights the gaps in understanding what works and what does not, and has all stakeholders engaging in further work, in addition to presenting proposals to the government, is found to be missing at this point of time and this workshop hopes to take initial steps in bridging this gap.

When & Where:

30th and 31st of July 2012. Bhubaneswar, XIM-B.

1. To create a sharing/cross-learning platform for many organisations and individuals thinking about social enterprises around markets for organic farmers in particular (farmer-controlled and farmer-owned markets in general), which empower both farmers and consumers, so that different models can be brought to one table for discussion, analysis and cross-learning.


2. To particularly focus on innovations and ‘best practices’ that seemed to have worked in particular enterprises (with the full appreciation that many models are possible) and have ensured surpluses to farmers at various points in the value chain (case studies of such entities/experiences will be shared, briefly) – with academics adding to the practitioners’ experiences.
3. To come up with advocacy proposals so that numerous such efforts get the support of governments in appropriate forms.


It is often seen that academics are not engaging enough on newer business models which represent a paradigmatic shift, especially in the organic markets context. Apart from academics in different business/management schools around the country, the participants of the workshop would be:

  • practitioners who have evolved small-scale retail models of farmers and consumers coming directly onto one platform (Vishmukt Dukaan in Wardha, reStore in Chennai, Organic Bazaar in Aurangabad/Trivandrum, Farmers’ Market in Mumbai etc.),
  • ones that have created rural-rural markets with safe food (Navajyoti Cooperative, DDS’ sangam market, Indira Kranthi Patham’s procurement and food security credit line initiative),
  • ones who have created replicable models in terms of strong farmers’ institutions that run chain outlets or export business or have created brands (Maha Gujarat Agri-Cotton Producer Company Ltd which does not rely only on organic produce but has hundreds of farmers’ malls, Chetna Organic Producers Company Ltd, Morarka Foundation/Morarka Organic etc.) in a profitable enterprise even if they don’t incorporate all the components of an ‘ideal’ market,
  • experts or officials who can make presentations on some innovative schemes that already exist in the government (whether it is NABARD’s producer company or modified NAIS, or warehouse receipt scheme, or small farmer agri-business consortium’s projects etc.), to see how organic entrepreneurs can tap into them.

Questions to be explored will include: how replicable are these models? What can others learn and incorporate in terms of cross-learning? What can we learn from the failures of several initiatives? What does the government have to do to support a multitude of diverse models around the country?

The workshop would be for 2 days, amongst 50-55 participants. The detailed structure is given below. It is expected that the following components can be teased out clearly: Present scenario; alternate markets with ‘ideals’ – replicability and way forward; production and quality issues including certification; cost and pricing issues; supply chain issues; retail management and distribution including consumer awareness and demand issues; institutional issues; policy issues. As a tangible outcome from these sessions, it is expected that we can evolve advocacy proposals to be taken to the government on what it should do to support such organic markets.


A learning & brainstorming workshop, organized by XIMB and ASHA

Xavier Institute of Management Bhubaneswar, July 30th and 31st 2012

Venue: New Academic Block Room 404


DAY 1: JULY 30TH 2012

09.45 am – 10.15 am Registration & Tea
10.15 am – 10.35 am Welcome & Introduction to the workshop Prof Shambu Prasad, XIMB &Ms Kavitha Kuruganti, ASHA
10.35 am – 11.00 am “Markets of the Walk-Outs” A film on the Deccan Development Society’s Sangam Market
11.00 am – 11.10 am Very brief round of introductions

Session 1: Organic Supply Chain interventions for (rainfed) smallholders


11.10 am – 11.40 am Keynote: Institutional asymmetries: Smallholders farming, aggregation, organic production and markets (covering Navajyoti Producer Co experience) Prof Amar Nayak, XIMB
11.40 am – 12.40 pmCase presentations (20 mts each) 1.     Mahila Umang Producer Company2.     Chetna Organic Producer Company

3.     Timbaktu Organic

Ms Anita Paul, UttarakhandMr Arun Ambatipudi, Hyderabad

Mr Bablu Ganguly, Anantapur

12.40 pm – 01.15 pm Discussion
01.15 pm – 01.25 pm DISCUSSANT’S OBSERVATIONS Dr Sudha Narayanan, IGIDR
01.25 pm – 01.35 pm Chair’s Closing Remarks
01.35 pm – 02.20 pm LUNCH

Session 2: Learning from different initiatives


02.20 pm – 03.20 pmCase presentations (20 mts each) 1.     24 Letter Mantra2.     Centre for Collective Development

3.     Just Change India

Mr Raj Seelam, HyderabadProf Trilochan Sastry, Bangalore

Mr Jacob ‘Dilip’ John, Bangalore

03.20 pm – 03.35 pm Maha Gujarat Agri Cotton Producer Co. Mr Praful Senjalia, Amreli
03.35 pm – 04.10 pm Discussion
04.10 pm – 04.30 pm TEA BREAK
04.30 pm – 05.10 pm(20 mts each) Role of CreditFinancial difficulties of enterprises Mr Srikantha Shenoy, IDF-BangaloreMr Suryamani Roul, Access Development, Delhi
05.10 pm – 05.40 pm Discussion
05.40 pm – 05.50 pm DISCUSSANT’S OBSERVATIONS Dr Sashidharan, Livelihoods School, Hyderabad
05.50 pm – 06.00 pm Chair’s Closing Remarks

Session 3 (Interactive Open House for students XIMB Auditorium): Growing Organically:

Facilitator: Prof Shambu Prasad, XIMB

06.30 pm- 08.00 pm Maikaal bioReDeccan Organic Producers


Sahaja Organics

Jaivik Haat

Earth 360

Dubden Green

Sahaja Aaharam

I Say Organic


Mr Rajeev BaruahMr K Sitaram

Mr Ashwin Paranjpe

Mr Somesh B

Mr Ashish Gupta

Mr Dinesh Kumar

Ganesh Eswar

Dr G V Ramanjaneyulu

Mr Ashmeet Kapoor








DAY 2: JULY 31ST 2012

Session 4: Organic Supply Chains


09.00 am – 09.45 am Keynote: Organic Supply Chains – emerging issues Prof Sukhpal Singh, IIM-Ahmedabad
09.45 am – 10.25 am

(20 mts each)1.     SVA

2.     Belgaum Organic Food ClubMr Jagadish Pradhan, Bhubaneswar

Mr Suresh Desai, Belgaum10.25 am – 10.35 am   Brief Discussion 10.35 am – 10.50 amTEA BREAK

Session 5: Organic Retail efforts


10.50 am – 12.10 noon 


Case presentations, 20 minutes each1.     reStore (Chennai)

2.     Thanal Organic Bazaar (Trivandrum)

3.     Hari Bhari Tokri (Mumbai)

4.     Vish Mukt Dukaan (Wardha)Mr Ananthasayanan, Chennai

Ms Usha Jayakumar, Trivandrum

Ms Neesha Noronha, Mumbai

Mr Dhyaneswar Dhage, Wardha (supported by Ananthoo)12.10 pm – 12.45 pmDiscussion 12.45 pm – 12.55 pmDISCUSSANT’S OBSERVATIONSProf Debi Prasad Mishra of IRMA12.55 pm – 01.05 pmChair’s Closing Remarks 01.05 pm – 02.00 pmLUNCH

Session 6: Government Initiatives & Interventions


02.00 pm – 02.20 pmSERP’s CMSA & Food Security Credit LineDr D V Raidu, Hyderabad along with the 2 farmers02.20 pm – 02.40 pmNABARD’s support to supply chain interventionsMr D P Dash, Bhubaneswar02.40 pm – 03.00 pmJaivik Krishi Society of KarnatakaMr Harish Gowda, Bangalore03.00 pm – 03.10 pmMP Govt’s initiativesMr K P Ahirwal. GoMP03.10 pm – 03.20 pmTRIPTI and seed villageMr Pranay Parida, TRIPTI03.20 pm – 03.40 pmParticipatory Guarantee SystemDr R N Bisoyi, RCOF, Bhubaneswar03.40 pm – 03.55 pmPGSOC’s experience on PGSMr Ashish Gupta, New Delhi03.55 pm – 04.05 pm“Ecosystem” issues with organic supply chain interventionsDr Krishna Tanuku, ISB04.05 pm – 04.35 pm    Discussion 04.35 pm – 04.45 pmChair’s Closing Remarks

Session 7: Key Learnings & Closing

04.45 pm – 05.15 pmKey Learnings, from different modelsFacilitator: Mr Santosh Srinivas, ISB & Mr Bishwadeep Ghose, Hivos05.15 pm – 05.30 pmClosing sessionXIMB & ASHA representatives 



[1] In this changed paradigm, values and concepts like cooperation, trust, transparency, common property and resources, plurality, eco-friendliness, well-being, non-exploitative, participation and ownership of the community over their institutions and so on are seen to ensure that the current adversities related to production and markets can be overcome.

[2] ASHA: Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) is a loose, informal network of organisations that had come together to organize a nation-wide Kisan Swaraj Yatra (a 71-day bus tour) to highlight issues related to current agrarian distress in India and to advocate long term and other solutions for the same. In its analysis of the current agrarian crisis in India, ASHA believes that the ‘politics of knowledge’ and ‘politics of markets’, pertaining to (technological) inputs into agriculture and fate of outputs respectively, play an important contributory role.


Xavier Institute of Management-Bhubaneswar: XIM Bhubaneswar, a leading management education institute has in its 25 years sought to connect business to society and runs programmes on rural management and business management. XIMB is involved in brining together academic institutions to engage with practitioners on rural livelihoods and agriculture in particular. Ongoing inititiatives include an action research project on sustainable farm systems with the Navjyoti Producer Cooperative and efforts to work with state rural livelihood missions on augmenting human resource requirements.

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