Sunday, 20 November 2016

Trying to Sale Vegetables (for the first time)

There was a lump of beans in front of him. Some crushed and some cut with finger nails due to stress. When people are stressed some bite their nails, some fidget with stuff in hands; he picked up the beans and tore them and crushed them making a pile in front of him. He was stressed because he was not able to sell the agricultural produce consisting of various vegetables. He bought some and some got it from his own garden to sell and make some profit to support his family and two kids who are studying in private school. And here he was about to incur losses.

Due to the improved seeds and research in the field of agriculture coupled with the timely rain and conducive climatic conditions, there was bumper harvest. The bumper harvest is about to incur great loss to a person who was outgoing and trying to help his fellow farmers by bringing it the market to sell it. He poured his anger to the beans cutting them and crushing them forming a huge pile. He had decided to go back leaving the vegetables to rot at the place where he was seated now. 

The authorities did not allow him to sell his vegetables at a bustling location. Perhaps complained by the local shopkeepers as they were selling at much higher price, vegetables imported from India in the name of taxation and having license. The location he was told to sell was behind the market, away from the road, on the platform and shade once used by the orange dealers. No one thronged there. It was a perfect blind spot. He had no connections there to advertise about his product also. 

A few customer who knew about the sale waited for the poor farmer to reduce the price with desperation. They waited there like a vultures waiting for animal to die, before feasting on it. Even the school mess secretary coaxed him to sale for a price much lower than their quotation rate. He even made him more frightened by saying that there will be no one buying his vegetables. Yet the farmer waited, hoping against hope to just break even, if no profit could be made. 

A good samaritan dropped by and knew about the predicament of the farmer. He had contacted the numerous vegetables vendors he knew and requested them to buy at wholesale price (it was less than whole sale price). He even contacted school mess and told them about the sale. Within moments, people thronged there and he was able to sell most of his stuff. The balance vegetables were sold in the army camp at reduced price before the vegetables got spoiled. The waiting vultures also made a dash to purchase, to the astonishment of the farmer. 

He would be able to go back to his village in the bus the next day. But he would never come to sell the agricultural produce ever again - he told himself. 

Whether he would farm to produce abundant vegetables in the absence of proper logistics support for marketing the produce is quite obvious. After having a bumper harvest, so what? Is the question the concerned department needs to ask themselves. The shelf life of the vegetables are very less, once they are harvested. The countdown to rotting begins the moment they are plucked from the garden. Refrigerated trucks are still things from the science fiction in Bhutan. The speeding meat van on the highway between Thimphu, Paro and Phuntsholing was trying to save the rotting cargo they were carrying. 

The success of agriculture is obvious till production level. The next step remains to be sorted out and that being the marketing part. One or two industrious farmers cannot defeat the numerous vultures prying on them, in the absence of support. If one Good Samaritan can make a difference to a seller, imagine what organization can do. But let the support be not that of banning.... banning the import.