Sustainable Value Chain Development of the Agriculture Commodities
B.Sc. (Agriculture), MBA, Agriculture Consultant, India
*Corresponding Author: Ganesh Prajapat, B.Sc. (Agriculture), MBA, Agriculture Consultant, India.
Published: January 09, 2024
Big agriculture value chains are exploiting the natural Resources. These value chains are impacting the society in negative way. To earn the profit agriculture commodities companies are promoting the large scale monoculture crop cultivation. Sometimes practices like child labour, extensive use of the agrochemicals, destruction of local bio diversity, extinction of local flora and fauna species, and breakage of the food chains, polluting the environment, and financial insecurities of small & marginal farmers are adopted to make the blind profits. These all ill practices are directly linked with the profit making mind-set. Sustainable agriculture is not the need of present it is the need of future generations. Agricultural value chain should be formed in such way that it should include ethical sourcing practices and responsible agriculture methods. Sustainable farming practices will help small & marginal farmers to live with dignity.
Scenario is changing the policies are formed in a way that these business organization are being made responsible for the sustainable development and environment protection. Ethical business practices are being awarded. These practices are making entry in the balanced sheet of the organization. Like organic agriculture practices are certified as organic product, carbon capture practices are used and traded as carbon credits.
Role of the value chain development is very important in the business of agro processing or agro commodities sourcing. All the agriculture based business need a smooth and assured supply chain for their business. The supply chain start from the agri input supply companies. Farmer and Farm give boost to it. Then after it passed through various service providers and channels and reached to processor. Since the business of agriculture commodities is highly volatile due to commodity or agro produce prices and it is highly time specific business due to peak arrival of the agro commodities or produce in market. At the time of arrival of commodity of agro produce the buyer or processing industries don’t have time to think except procurement of the produce. Rural development is directly associated with agriculture. Climate smart agriculture practices are promoting the carbon capture & credits. This will help farmers and farming community, farmer community will adopt crop diversification. Local crops & biodiversity will blossom with sustainable agriculture value chain development.
International trade is giving importance to the steps taken for the sustainable agriculture or sourcing. Many companies started to trust the sourcing with sustainable farming practices. The companies are making the direct relationship with its producers. These companies are helping to the producers for their overall development which includes health, education, income generation, access to drinking water, gender equality, nutrition, crop diversification, supply of quality planting materials, crop inputs, crop cultivation technologies, technical assistance in farm operations, and mechanization of their far operations, access to real time weather data, market price and many other ways to give back to the producers. There can be other ways which agriculture produce sourcing company can used to make their value chain more sustainable. These task can be categorised in following ways for the sustainable value chain development.
Strengthening to the Farmer
Since the farmer is the first person who start the value chain for the agriculture produce or agriculture commodities. His dedication and hard work make farm produce to grow or rise. Most of farmers are small and marginal farmers. Their living standards are very poor they don’t have access to the basic facilities like health, education, shelter. Companies should help farmers in his upliftment. A happy farmer will give his 100% to the agriculture and it will lead to better production with consistent quality. When we think about the development of the value chain in agriculture then first of all we must answer the question that how the value chain will help to the farmer and it will help in farmer empowerment. The answer of this question will lead to sustainable value chain development. Fair trade practices should be adopted so that farmers can benefit from it and they can take part in Food security and Environmental protection movement through agriculture. Sustainable agriculture value chain development will lead to financial inclusion of farmers and farm labours.
Strengthening the Farm land
Farm is the first factory for the value chain. The sourcing of the agriculture commodity should helpful in developed of the farm or agriculture land. By the exploitation of resources the land is losing its fertility. The crops are absorbing the nutrients from soils. There must be solution for the recharge of the nutrients in farm land. Continuous irrigation by salty water is also giving birth to problematic soils. With the help of the farm the farm land should be recharged. The organic content of the soil must be maintained properly. The crop residue can be converted in to the manure and it should go back to farm instead of burning or throw away in open. The bio diversity of the farm should be increased. Farms should have good percentage of the biomass in soil. Crop cultivation technologies should promote the organic way of the crop cultivation or very limited use of the synthetic agro chemicals. Climate resilience agriculture practices should be adopted for proper use of the available soil moisture. Crop diversification should be adopted instead of the mono cropping. IF the farmer wants to take sustainable production form farm then he should be encouraged to adopt these climate smart agriculture practices. A healthy farm will produce the quality farm produce. Building sustainable value chains in agriculture is highly in demand at global level. There are many challenges and opportunities for sustainable sourcing of agriculture produce. It is the duty of the organization to come out from these issues. Currently the business of Agro-processing and Agro-commodities si totally based on Monoculture agriculture practices. Climate change will put an adverse impact on agriculture so farmers and agriculture companies should move to Climate-smart agriculture and adopt it at early stage.
Strengthening the Farming or Local Crops
The profit centric crop cultivation gives lesser importance to local crops. Due to mono culture farmer don’t sow the local crops and local varieties. Even some due to adoption of latest technologies farmers go for only those crops for which the machine or technologies are available. Likes farmers are not taking the minor millers crops. Slowly and slowly the cropping area of these crops are going down slowly and slowly. Tradition verities and crop are not finding the buyer and value chains. The agriculture value chain should provide market to the other farm produce, so that the farmers can able to generate income from another crops and activities. Local food, crops, cereals, pulses, fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, medicinal plants have very good nutrition values and market potential. The Value chain should also assist farmers by providing the market support to other crops. Importance to millets is being given globally, millets have been considered as nutrition rich food. In the same way there are other crops and farm produce which have large market potential. Geographical identification of local produce should be preserved and documented. A sustainable value chain should also strengthen the value chain of other parallel crops / produces. Diversifying crops for a more resilient food system must be included in agriculture value chain development programmes. This is joint responsibility of the agriculture business organization and farmers, by preserving local biodiversity in agricultural practices they can achieve their targets. The agriculture value chain development should give emphasis on technology adoption. Farm input suppliers and Post-harvest services should be included in strengthening of rural infrastructure.
Strengthening the Rural Society / Farming community
Since most of farming community reside nearby the agriculture farms in rural area. Generally there is no access to the basic public facilities in these areas like drinking water, school, hospital, community centre, road, sanitation, common agro processing centre. Agriculture based business organization should come with strategies for improving rural infrastructure and access to basic facilities. A sustainable value chain should support the strengthening of rural community. There are many other social thrust areas where the agro industry can contribute like women education, gender equality, girl child education, capacity building, seed production, backward traceability, environment protection, plantation, backyard vegetable production, own farm crop input preparation, custom hiring centre, backward and forward market linkages, establishment of farmer producer organizations, vaccination, first aid, ambulance, skill development, micro finance, financial education, community based primary processing, carbon foot print capture, carbon credit generation, geographical identification of local produces, technology exposure visits, and many more. A strong rural society will lead to happier and intelligent farmers. These farmers will produce the best quality farm produce, which will be lead to sourcing or procurement of the quality farm produce. Impact of ethical business practices on rural communities will be very positive in future. The rural community need some visible impact. Since agriculture production is directly linked with the rural community. Empowering small farmers through sustainable agriculture practices will be beneficial for entire society. Responsible business organizations are investing in carbon capture credits through agriculture and agriculture based value chains. Benefit of carbon footprint should be shared with farmer.
Strengthening the Service Providers
There are many service provider associated with the value Chains, like farm input supplier, transporters, farm labours and labours supplier, agri implements suppliers, post-harvest service providers, local traders, packaging material supplier, cleaning and grading service providers, warehousing and storages, agriculture drone (Unmanned Arial Vehicles) operators primary processing service providers. A sustainable Value chain must strengthen these service providers. These service providers are facilitator to the main value chain if these facilitators will be strong enough then they will assist the value chain in their full capacity. These service providers need technical up gradations, new skills development. Leveraging technology for sustainable farming and traceability will be time saving and result oriented. Technologies like artificial intelligence block chain technologies, remote sensing and other technologies will be very helpful to understand the need of these service providers and their solutions.