Author: Suman Chowdhury Mony, August 29, 2017 - Every year, there is a huge production of crops and vegetables in many countries. Developed countries utilize all of their production, but that is difficult for the developing and underdeveloped countries. Poor economy, lack of proper planning, corruption, waste of money, political unrest, etc., are the main obstacles for those countries.

In Bangladesh, every year, farmers produce a large amount of crops and vegetables in several places. But many times they don’t get the logical price for their production because of lack of sufficient market linkage and storage facilities in rural areas. In many countries, like Bangladesh, there is a lack of sufficient storage facilities like: warehouses, cold storage, etc., for properly preserving the crops, vegetable and fruits in every rural area. Also, the farmers don’t know the economically profitable alternative technology of preserving systems for those food items. There are some warehouses, cold storage, food preserving and processing zones, etc., in developing countries, but many of them are totally unusable: some have poor maintenance and others are owned by middlemen. In addition, corruption is one of the main problems of these countries.

For that reason, when the farmers produce a huge number of crops, vegetable, fruits, etc., and they can’t preserve these specially, the products rot. So, either those products are destroyed or rotten or the farmers sell the products to a middle man at a very low price at the time of harvest. Most of the time, it is hard for them to earn the production cost. Though there are huge demands for those products in every area of a country, the mischievous middlemen take the opportunity to buy those food items at a very cheap price because they know that there is no place for and capacity of the poor farmers to store these products; and the farmers have no market linkage and market access. Thus, the middle men are able to store those food items in their warehouses and cold storage; some of them are processed and the rest are sold in the high demand areas of cities and towns at a high price by making an artificial scarcity of the foods.

In this way, many farmers can’t make a profit, though they produce huge amount of crops, vegetables, fruits, etc. Sometimes they can’t earn the real production cost and lose money. The customers also lose money. So, what do we call this: the curse of bumper production?

Like Bangladesh, farmers in many countries sometimes: show their agitation by throwing crops, vegetables, etc., on the road and/or arrange a procession, road block programs, etc. They demand to establish warehouses, cold storage, etc., for properly storing and preserving the crops, vegetable and fruits in every rural area. Many political parties, social organizations, civil society organizations, etc., support their movement rather than demonstrating the solution. Thus, the farmers and rural area people do not know the power of their unity to solve all their problems by taking united initiatives.

Everyone knows that the developing and under developed countries have poor economies, which is the biggest obstacle of the country’s development. Several types of corruption are another main obstacle of proper development. The Governments of those countries have no ability to do development work in every area at the same time, and because of multiple types of corruption, they also waste their money. So it is not possible for them to establish warehouses, cold storage, etc.

But it is more than easy for the farmers and rural people to establish these types of storage in their area by taking united efforts. They need not to wait for the Government’s initiatives! If they wish, they can: be united; form a group or organization; create a social fund by collecting money from the local people. They can also collect several types of goods, materials and gradually gather social assets and save money for creating a big fund. They could do all the work under that organization by creating policies and guidelines which are suitable and friendly for them. The local rich men, NGOs, social and business organizations can also help them by donating money, materials, etc. or by giving them loans. After gathering the necessary money, they will establish the needed facilities in their area by using that fund. Voluntarily, educated and technologically-able people and scientists should come to help them in establishing these types of storage house and food processing zones. They can also share and train them with the techniques of using alternative technologies for preserving systems of various types of food items. The Government can give them some financial and administrative supports; and it might give them usable land for establishing those types of storage houses. Every stage of the work should be done under a friendly policy framework. The users would pay money for using and also maintaining facilities. Local NGOs or social organizations could create this type of establishment on a not-for-profit basis but to help the poor farmers.

The Governments of developing and underdeveloped countries, especially in Asia and Africa, should encourage these types of social enterprises. The national and international NGOs, donors and voluntary organizations ought to raise the possibility with the rural people to carry such projects forward and encourage by supporting them: give them funding, technologies, materials, etc. Microfinance or financial institutions of those countries could give flexible loans with low interest rates to the social groups created by the farmers and rural people under a friendly loan policy. Also Government, NGOs and other social organizations should strengthen the value chain system and take initiatives to make market linkages for the rural farmers.

If local people in every rural area can build these types of social groups and establish warehouse, cold storage, and food preserving and processing zones in their area and get the most recent technology for food preserving systems of various types, then the total scenario could be changed. Farmers would get logical prices and preserve the excess production. Then, the customers of many places, including cities and towns, could buy those items at logical prices. No crops, vegetables, fruits and other food items would be destroyed, and the country could properly use their maximum crop production. The farmers could export their excess production to foreign countries by using the proper channel of Government. No farmer would lose their production cost. And they would always try to produce a huge amount of crops, vegetables, fruits, etc.

The Government, national and local NGOs and civil society organizations should take awareness-raising and mobilization programs to the local people to do several types of development work through taking their own initiative. They should know that they don’t need to wait for the Government; but, by taking their own initiative, they can solve many social problems, they can create a better society, they can eradicate poverty, and they can do infrastructural development work.

Local community driven development initiatives can change the local economy, can do more local development; and, in this the way, the country will be developed smoothly!

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