Lockdown farmers markets in Bengaluru

Direct marketing activities and potential for rural-urban linkages in the food system

  • Neda Yousefian Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • M. Soubadra Devy Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
  • K. Geetha University of Agricultural Sciences GKWK
  • Christoph Dittrich Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Keywords: City Region Food System, COVID-19, Pandemic, Direct Marketing, Farmer Producer Organization, Resident Welfare Association, Rural-Urban Linkages, Supply Chains

Abstract

Rural-urban linkages are vital elements in a sustain­able food system. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, supply chains were disrupted and fear of infection impacted food shopping decisions, push­ing consumers to seek local and safer options for procuring fresh produce. Direct marketing arose as a promising alternative for both consumers and producers. We undertook a study in Bengaluru, India, in order to understand what direct marketing activities have unfolded with the COVID-19 pan­demic. Media reports highlighted the plight of farmers struggling to market their harvest during lockdown as well as the farm to fork initiatives and lockdown farmers markets that have been created as a response. We see this moment as an opportu­nity to develop Bengaluru’s food system to be more sustainable, specifically through the City Region Food System framework. This study conducted online and telephone surveys with both consumers and producers in Bengaluru to explore the elements of supply and demand that have fos­tered and hindered direct marketing schemes. We found that consumers are interested in sourcing fruits and vegetables directly from farmers, but communi­cation and logistics between consumers and pro­ducers are major hindrances. Although producers are diversifying their marketing strate­gies, they need to be implemented at economically viable scales to ensure long-term success. We find that the role of technology, specifically messaging apps, can streamline direct marketing activities and remove the barriers that currently hamper rural-urban linkages. Further­more, existing community and farmer organiza­tions have the size and scale to make direct marketing schemes a worthy endeavor for both consumers and producers.

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Author Biographies

Neda Yousefian, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Doctoral researcher, Institute of Geography, Department of Human Geography

M. Soubadra Devy, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)

PhD, Senior Fellow, Suri Sehgal Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation

K. Geetha, University of Agricultural Sciences GKWK

Professor and Scheme Head AICRP-Home Science (Food & Nutrition)

Christoph Dittrich, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

PhD, Institute of Geography, Head of Department of Human Geography

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Published
2021-03-23
How to Cite
Yousefian, N., Soubadra Devy, M., Geetha, K., & Dittrich, C. (2021). Lockdown farmers markets in Bengaluru: Direct marketing activities and potential for rural-urban linkages in the food system. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(2), 105–121. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.034
Section
Papers on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Food System