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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Is growers’ market workable?

A growers' market is a market where growers themselves are the sellers without involvement of middlemen or professional traders. It is not altogether a new idea. In such a market both the sellers and buyers are supposed to be benefited. It introduces new products, establishes direct relation between producers and consumers and may help bringing down prices to some extent It is a welcome initiative at times of soaring prices of essentials. But its role is limited in bringing down prices.At a time when prices of essential commodities soared up beyond the reach of the low-income groups of people, the government and concerned quarters thought over different options to bring down prices. The growers' market and the BDR shops are some of them. Recently the Joint Forces, the Jessore District Administration, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Pourasabha jointly opened a growers' market at a corner of the town where more than 250 sheds were erected for the use of the sellers without paying rent for them.The idea behind opening this market was that growers would come with their products and they themselves would sell their goods directly to the buyers. In a growers' market the producers themselves are the sellers of their commodities. It is for this reason that prices of essentials remain moderate in such markets provided the supply line of commodities is not disrupted. The producers get beter prices of their produces while the buyers can also buy them at economy rates. This is how the sellers and buyers are benefited in such a market system.Market price of commodities is determined according to the law of demand and supply. Along with the laws, strata of middlemen in between the producers and the end consumers are responsible to a great part for the rise of prices of commodities. In the existing market mechanism manipulated by the middlemen, the margin the peasants gain over the cost of production is quite narrow; whereas the middlemen as a whole can keep a big margin in their transactions. Due to the existence of the middlemen, prices of commodities go up and the buyers have to pay excessively.In addition to the immediate benefits of the sellers and buyers, the most important economic feature of the growers' market is that it helps bringing down prices of agricultural products to some extent and can influence the market proportionately. So the idea of organising such markets is appreciable particularly in a situation where prices of essential commodities go up sharply beyond the reach of the common buyers and when it needs to be brought down.In addition to influencing commodity prices, growers' market, at the same time, plays some other roles as well. It introduces newer products to the markets and thus creates a new demand for the same. It establishes a direct economic relation between the producers and the end consumers. Such a relation is almost impossible in the modern market system manipulated by middlemen.It is for these additional roles that even developed countries organise such markets. The Hay markets in Chicago and Boston in the USA and the Sunday market in London are such markets of the growers. At weekends, certain avenues are closed for traffic and growers' markets organised. One important factor for successful operation of such markets is communication network that facilitates easy access of the sellers and buyers with minimum transport expenditure.But on investigation, it was found that the socalled growers' market at Palbari Moore in Jessore could not actually be the same. Out of near about 300 shops, a very few were found used by the growers. Almost all of the sellers are professional traders who used to conduct businesses in a nearby kitchen market To take advantage of the rent-free use of the sheds, they reportedly shifted their shops to the newly organised market running all day long. But instead of reducing prices that free use of sheds might make possible, they sell almost all of their goods at prices as in other markets of the town.Only beef and muton were found to sell Tk 20 to 30 below the usual prices. The growers are absent from the market and the buyers get no price benefit from it Neither was any impact on price situation of the markets in the town observed. The only benefit the buyers of the locality claimed to be enjoying was that a dawn to dusk kitchen market was set at their doorstep. The market did not prove to be viable and gainful from the point of view of the buyers as well. As such this market did not have any impact on the price situation. If even growers could have come with their commodities, in spite of the immediate benefit of the sellers and buyers, the influence of such markets on the overall price situation would have been limited owing to their insignificant proportion of growers' market The growers market is an interim arrangement at times of price hike. This is not a very effective means to bring down prices. Economists and experts suggest that the most effective way to bring down prices is to strengthen the supply line of commodities through increased production and import to make up the shortfall.The field reality of the growers' market at Jessore is at variance with what was envisaged. The aim of the market could have been achieved if the presence of the growers with their products could be ensured. It seems the concerned authorities did not give much thought to this aspect of the eventuality.
Sarker Nazrul Islam

1 comment:

yaman said...

a growers' market is not a bad idea but it really needs to be done on a much larger scale. another major problem is farmers are not always able to travel to the city or send others in their place..what is to be done in that situation other than go to distributors who will not give them fair prices.

perhaps the distributors should be brought under the public sector? perhaps private distribution companies could be setup where farmers/farmers' unions are shareholders? maybe a combination of such methods would provide a long term solution to this problem which just keeps on getting worse