Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Connecting Consumers with Local Producers

The sustainable food movement places emphasis on establishing a direct connection between local food producers and the consumers. Recently, a new initiative ‘Know Your Farmer Know Your Food’ was launched by the USDA in order to bring consumers and farmers on a common platform and spur economic opportunities. This has been done to support the rights of local farmers and encourage the consumption of locally grown sustainable food items. Similar initiatives are being adopted by developed as well as developing countries across the world. In India, a social enterprise named Rudi Multi Trading follows the same concept and establishes a connection between the farmers and end customers.

The main aim of Rudi Multi Trading Company is to support the village economy by rotating profits within the village. The produce of small farmers is distributed through an established network at the village level. It was in November 2007 that Rudi turned into an official entity. Four processing centers have been set up by Rudi from where the produce of farmers is processed, packed and sold through the SEWA (Self Employed Women’s Association) network. Compared to the rock bottom prices offered by middlemen, farmers are now getting a fair price that is close to current markets rates through sales done by Rudi.

Experts believe that social enterprises need to have a sufficient turnover so that there is enough capital for future development projects. Turnover of Rudi has increased from 14.5 lacs Indian rupees in the first year to 1.5 crore in 2008-09. With the aim to cater almost 1,500 villages in Gujarat, India, Rudi is set to expand its processing activities so that the producers get a fair price and consumers get to enjoy good quality food items free from adulteration.

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