Extending traditional food knowledge into new marketing institutions for small farmers in India

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Small farmers, who are normally dependent on marketing intermediaries, have formed themselves into co-operatives in the Indian states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and have started to sell their produce directly to consumers via retail outlets, the Internet, urban franchises, mobile vans, rural food hubs and as branded products. The key engine for this marketing experiment is the Sahaja Aharam Producer Company Limited (SAPCO), a producer organisation. SAPCO has tried to create new supply chains that guarantee that the produce it sells complies with the quality standards needed to certify the foods as ‘organic’. SAPCO is an initiative of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) which has taken up the bulk of the financial and administrative burden of managing the company. The revival of traditional knowledge for organic farming and the marketing of organic produce has invariably required the intervention of external agents such as CSA. In the final section, we assess the achievements of SAPCO from the viewpoint of the small farmers who belong to the producer co-operatives that make up SAPCO's membership. Our key research question is whether it has been possible to scale up the production and marketing of small farmers’ output and create a new supply chain independent of local intermediaries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)645-668
Number of pages24
JournalSouth Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Central India
  • CSA
  • marketing and supply chains
  • organic food
  • producer co-operatives
  • small farmers
  • traditional knowledge

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