The Punjab government is discussing a proposal to facilitate organic farmers’ tie up with e-commerce companies , according to a senior official.The state government has started working with farmers to bring traceability of organic produce growing in farms and expects the proposal to boost farmers’ income and help e-commerce companies like Amazon, Tata Mjunction and Grofers and retailers like Walmart maintain steady and quality supply of these food items.
“There is a growth in the demand of certified agricultural products as both national and international consumers demand more transparency and accountability in supply chain. Punjab Agro plans to bring along traceability in 20,000 acres of organic producing area in Punjab, bringing all relevant information of the farmer, plot and cropping season into a single platform under Punjab Agri Export Corporation (Pagrexco)’ project,” said Manjeet Brar, MD, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation Limited.
Brar said that organic traceability certification will usher in transparency in the entire value chain hereby closing the gap between the farmers and the certification agencies. “We are confident that this will result in delivering the authentic products to the consumers,” he said.For the project 15,000 organic farmers from five districts in the state will be profiled to develop a database. The organic products like wheat, basmati rice to maize from these fields which will have traceability certification will be sold under the brand name- Five Rivers by Punjab Agro, said Brar.
Technical know-how on crop planning and management, inputs, credit, post-harvest management, value addition, and better market linkages will be provided to the farmers. “A centralized platform will help capture all relevant information through a simple mobile application and give insights on the data captured. Having field-level monitoring capability, all the farm activities are captured in the system ensuring traceability of the entire value chain,”said Brar.
Further, to facilitate exports, PAGREXCO is also in the process of building a modern pack house for agri and veggies for export of organic produce with traceability near Amritsar airport in addition to the one which is already operational at Sirhind near Chandigarh airport. “These organic veggie clusters will have traceability through block chain technology,” said Brar.Apart from providing services like seeds and farm machinery at the farmer’s doorstep the state government also plans to give specific advisory for every single farmer based on their crops and region. “Satellite and GIS based monitoring of farm plots will evaluate crops grown, health and yield while bench-marking with historic yields to showcase impact,” said Brar.