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About Sufal Bangla
It was quite a challenge to mobilize producers into collectives such as Farmer Producer Company(FPC), Farmer Producers Organization(FPO), Farmers Interest Group(FIG), Farmers Club and Self Help Groups (SHGS). It empowered the producers and gave them the bargaining power.
With better access to credit, agricultural inputs, storage facility, grading, IT-enabled crop management, market connectivity, market information, extension programme based on research and development, capacity building, exploring optimum market potential received top priority, thus causing scaling up of agricultural output.
Assured market and assured payment were prioritized giving rise to a robust procurement network across the districts of the state with Tapasi Malik Krishak Bazar at Singur in the Hooghly District of West Bengal having emerged as a procurement hub, modelled on the Hub & Spokes system, with an IT-enabled state-of-the-art laboratory for grading and quality control.
The small landholders who were condemned to be the victims of middlemen owing to a lack of access to market linkage felt empowered by leveraging the facilities of enrollment, aggregation, market linkage and value addition at Singur and elsewhere.
As the tastes and preferences of consumers changed and diversified, it became imperative to tie up with Mother Dairy, Kolkata and West Bengal Live Stock Development Corporation Limited to make the range of products wide enough. State Fisheries Development Corporation Ltd extends its services in some front end stores across the state.
In its bid at digitization, Sufal Bangla has entered into a partnership with C-DAC for finding IT solutions for its problems. In order to address the issue, C-DAC, Kolkata, has launched a drive to ensure optimum induction of IT and Electronics for improvement of services, quality and transparency of agricultural products especially the exotic varieties of rice such as Radhatilak, Gobindobhogh, Kalonunia, Kalabhat and Tulaipanji. C-DAC will also offer ICT-enabled online comprehensive solutions for pesticide residual estimate, farmers? enrolment, Procurement, Payment to farmers, and Managing and Distribution of stocks, payment by the consumers, price dissemination, GPS-enabled vehicle surveillance, accounts management and also inventory management.
To retain the utility value of agricultural produce packaging assumes great importance. Sufal Bangla has made a tie-up with Indian Institute of Packaging for total solution to the problems of loss, damage etc. IIP offered packaging solutions by installing machines and offering commodity-specific consultancy.
Paschimbanga Agri Marketing Corporation Limited has also entered into an agreement with BCKV (Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya) to the effect that their exotic varieties of rice, pulses, uni-floral honey, spices, mustard oil, wheat, flour etc will be marketed by Paschimbanga Agri Marketing Corporation Limited under SUFAL BANGLA brand.
As a result of the synergistic effect of the convergence of aggregation of agri-produce, value chain and supply chain Sufal Bangla Static (brick & mortar) outlet at Shantiniketan in Bolpur appeared in the guise of a full-fledged department store as part of a pilot scheme with a wide range of products including fresh fruits, vegetables, potato, milk, ice-cream, paneer, ghee, edible oil, rice, pulses, chicken, lamb and rabbit meat and processed food. It has weighing scale, crates and perforated vehicles for transportation of vegetables. It is operated by the FPC which is determined through bidding on this condition that a certain percentage of the sale proceeds would go to the Government as royalty and the said percentage would be fixed by financial bidding. As this business model proved successful, it was replicated elsewhere.
Sufal Bangla soon became popular among the consumers because it uploads the procurement and retail prices of commodities on its website and mobile App in advance to enable the consumers to take decisions as to their marketing on their own.
A unique experiment clicked as the FPC-operated retail sale of agricultural produce to the residents of Uniworld city in New Town became very popular. It also got replicated elsewhere. Sufal Bangla?s service to bring consumers fresh farm produce at competitive prices right at their doorstep was widely accepted and welcomed. FPCs also reached out to institutional clientele like C-DAC and AIR-INDIA with the supply of agricultural produce.
Consumers can check the daily price of the agri-produce online from the Sufal Bangla website www.sufalbangla.in, Sufal Bangla App, IVR (Toll free number 1800-345-5573). Sufal Bangla?s online presence through PC and mobile App turned marketing into an interactive experience. Besides this, the web-enabled access of Agricultural information made agri-marketing consumer-friendly. Its feedback mechanism helps it to evaluate the relevance of ongoing schemes and improve upon them, if necessary.
The participation in about 350 (Three hundred fifty) fairs across the state annually deserves mention in this context. Our concern for environment is also reflected in our eco-friendly stalls which are built by traditional artisans and craftsmen using bio-degradable and ethnic materials such as bamboo products, recyclable wooden planks, hay, clay, turmeric, rice powder and jute to the exclusion of all polluting agents such as plastic, thermocol etc. To individual farmers and farmers in groups it is a rare platform to show-case their produce to all across the board.
As a pilot scheme one retail outlet for organic produces has been opened at New Town. A plan to set up a wholesale organic market is underway. Also plans are afoot to broaden the network of organic agricultural produce market.
Milling plays a significant role in value addition of agricultural produce. Since Farmers are not in a position to carry on milling on their own, Paschimbanga Agri Marketing Corporation Ltd. is going to install two rice mills at Ranaghat Krishak Bazar and Raiganj Principal Market yard at Karnazora respectively with a view to ensuring quality control.
Process is also under way to install a pulse milling machine at Ranaghat Krishak Bazar.
By 2019-20 the number of Sufal Bangla retail outlets (mobile and static) is expected to reach the targeted figure of a double century.