Private players, policies, eat up market share.
The farmer produce procured by Horticultural Producers’ Co-operative Marketing and Processing Society Ltd.(HOPCOMS) has declined from 60 tonnes a day to 40 tonnes a day in the last three to four years.
Jayaprakash, Marketing Head of HOPCOMS said that out of 270 outlets in the city, only 100 are profitable. While 50 percent of the remaining outlets run on break-even, the remaining outlets are non-profitable.
Muniraju, a farmer from Devanhalli said that he has to travel 50 kms if he has to sell his produce at the HOPCOMS, whereas private companies pick up the produce at his doorstep. Also, HOPCOMS does not clear bills on time, “My bills have been pending for a month now, ideally it should be cleared within 10 days,” he added.
Manjunath, another farmer, said that he chooses to sell his products to private companies as he grows organic produce. “For organic produce, selling in HOPCOMS is not at all profitable,” he added.
Narayan Swamy, a farmer from Anighatta said that when the HOPCOMS load their produce in godowns they take only 94 per cent of the produce into calculation. The other six percent is ‘thrown in’ by the farmer for free. This reduces his profit margins. He added that he’d rather sell in open markets where the commission rate is stable.
Jayaprakash said that their market share is being diluted year by year as multiple private players are entering the market. The HOPCOMS attracts farmers by not charging commission and procuring produce for higher rates than APMCs, he added.
Explaining the expansion and development plans for HOPCOMS he said, “We are trying to expand by opening mobile outlets and online ordering facilities.”
The online delivery service which was started in September, on a pilot basis, is off to a slow start. Adeep, an executive from the delivery partner F2C services said, “on an average we receive only 20-25 orders in a day. The business is not profitable for now.” However, he is confident that the pilot will pick up and the services will be profitable in the near future.
The sales at HOPCOMS outlets have reduced post pandemic. Srinivas, store manager at Lalbagh HOPCOM said that the business has slowed down after the pandemic. “Many customers used to come in during the pandemic, but now there are less people coming in,” he added.
Uday Deolankar, an agricultural expert, said that co-operative societies like HOPCOMS are large and are not effectively handled as they have many limitations and do not get enough financial support for expanding business. Also, for the betterment of small farmers, Farmer Producer Organization(FPO) can be formed, this will help them get better income, he added.