Supply Chain: A Differentiator in Marketing Fresh Produce
The IUP Journal of Supply Chain Management, Vol. VIII, No. 1, pp. 23-36, March 2011
Posted: 27 May 2011
Date Written: May 25, 2011
Supply Chain Management (SCM) not only helps in cutting costs, but also adds to maintain and improve the quality of fruits and vegetables (F&V) marketed. In marketing F&V, which are perishable in nature, Supply Chain (SC) plays a crucial role. The very nature of land holding by the farmers, varied climatic conditions, production spread over wide geographical area, mainly in remote villages, diversified consumption patterns and poor SC infrastructure makes SCM for F&V more complicated. In India, SCM is at its nascent stage in marketing of F&V. Marketing of F&V is challenging because of the perishability, seasonality and bulkiness and consumption habits of the Indian consumers. In addition to this, poor SC infrastructure, poor private equity in SC and conventional small-scale unorganized retailers, make state-of-the-art SC challenging in the present scenario. The Indian retail market is mainly dominated by unorganized retailers. The unorganized retailers are not a homogeneous group. Recent development in retailing is the entry of large number of organized retailers. Current SC catering mainly to the unorganized retailers is riddled with number of drawbacks. As per the survey conducted for this study, important drawbacks of the current SC are number of intermediaries, high level of wastage, quality degradation, poor infrastructural facilities and high cost. Fresh produce market has immense influence on the socioeconomic and even political conditions. Close to 30% of the F&V grown is going waste. All the stakeholders have to join hands to improve SC mechanism to take produce from the farmers to the consumers. This would facilitate the consumers to get quality produce at economical rates. The middlemen and all the stakeholders in the SC benefit from the improved SC infrastructure. Government and private operators have to join hands to improve the physical infrastructure, information sharing, and the service required for quality improvement of the SC.
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