What is the future of agricultural marketing in India?
The future of India’s agricultural marketing is a difficult one to predict. So many variables could impact the market in ways we can’t fully measure and understand yet. However, I think it’s safe to say that if India’s economic growth rate continues at what appears to be a steady pace, higher-income individuals will shop more at grocery stores and less at fruit vendors or other such street-side retailers. This would only create another underdog scenario where the farmers with access to large amounts of land and organic farming methods might continue to prosper while urban areas make great strides in expanding their supply chains, with factories often taking up more significant roles than actual farms do.
The industrial revolution has had some beneficial impacts on agriculture as fewer people are needed to run a single factory than the field, but we can’t overlook that many businesses have gone under because of unfair competition from overseas. Moreover, I’m not sure how it pans out with fruits and vegetables, where the trend seems to be buying as locally as possible. However, many experts believe India is at least two decades away from manufacturing a product with the same quality and value as locally-grown goods.
Toyota, PepsiCo, Unilever and a few other large companies have pledged to supply the entire country with 100% of fruits and vegetables by 2025. I feel this is an unrealistic goal (especially with the amount of opposition they recently received from local farmers), but I believe it’s possible to supply most of the country with these products. As PepsiCo’s Rajeev Bakshi explained, “If we are growing vegetables and fruits in a controlled environment, it is easy for us to do 100 per cent sourcing from a factory.”
The real question here is: If market demand changes, will Indian farmers and their methods adapt? What will the future of agriculture in India look like?
The future of Indian agricultural practices depends on how statistics surrounding crop yield and land-use change. According to a report published by The Huffington Post, “As the population expands, more pressure will come from urban development — which creates less farmland.” The future of Indian agriculture will also depend on how farmers and other food industry professionals manage their supply chains. Governments will have to ensure that there are laws in place to protect the rights of farmers across the country as well as foster growth for emerging industries
If you’re looking for a more long-term view, then it’s possible we could see a similar decline in farming that we’ve seen with manufacturing jobs. The world could very well begin to rely more on manufacturing as farmers have access to more incredible technology and less land than they did 50 years ago. I think this is something that needs to be discussed moving forward because it’s not just about how India farms but how it manufactures goods and exports them to other countries.
Lastly, we have to look at the issue of genetically modified crops and how their use could potentially impact the quality of life for farmers in India (as well as those who rely heavily on farming) by making food more readily available and affordable but also less nutritious. It’s important to understand that farming will always be a massive part of growing the economy and that quality food produced by a hard-working farmer is one of the building blocks to healthy communities.
It’s not only about Indian farmers, but more so about how they can compete with large companies and other crops grown around the world. It’s going to take innovation, unity and advocacy to ensure that they give their best effort and can continue to provide the world with a variety of high-quality foods.
As farmers struggle in the country, some are looking to diversify their income by selling locally or increasing their labour force. But whatever happens, it will be hard for the agriculture industry in India to remain the same.