Friday 6 November 2015

Uttarakhand Saras 2015 is Welcome Initiative : But The Objective is Not Clear!

Written by Anil Singh

Day before yesterday, I happened to visit the ongoing Uttarakhand Saras 2015 Trade Fair taking place at Parade Ground Dehradun.

The trade fair is a welcome distraction, and as expected is seeing good footfalls and purchases.

People, Cooperative Societies and businesses from all over Uttarakhand and India have set up their kiosks, selling and marketing a range of products from -- Organic vegetables, pulses, fruits, to perfumes, handicrafts, garments, to processed foods.

As said, it's a welcome initiative as people have brought very non-transport friendly products to the Uttrakhand Saras. Take for instance, organic fruits and vegetables from Nainital. I'm calling them non-transport friendly as a single turnip may sometimes weigh 600 grams or more.

But as said, the Uttarakhand Saras 2015 doesn't seem to have a clear objective!

The confusion regarding objective seems to exist for the audience and the kiosk owners.

I over heard people bargaining for products.

I also over heard ladies telling themselves and their companions, they will buy the product on display the next time such a trade fair comes to town. In short, they are seeing Uttarakhand Saras 2015 as a mere opportunity to buy stuff.

I think the objective of such initiatives must be clear.

So that the kiosk owners with limited resources and marketing power can benefit.

For instance, it's not logical to put someone selling organic pulses from Rudraprayag or Tehri Garhwal to unwanted bargaining of the crowd. In the same way, it's not logical to put someone selling organic vegetables brought from Nainital or Almora to put to such discomfort. As that defeats the very purpose of such fairs.

The idea must be to increase the earning of such small producers and manufacturers (in case of food processors, traditional garment makers).

This can be attained by helping such people to only showcase the products. That's not make the kiosks the selling counters. Ideally a small producer and manufacturer can demand profitable prices for his/her goods when retailers contact them. In case the kiosk owners want to sell their products to crowd, then they must charge retail prices.

That apart, the Kiosk owners, especially from our hills, need some training.

They should not come to such fairs unless they are organised in some form of cooperative; or have substantial market of their own.

They must also focus on quality. A wayward stitch in a coat or a missed loop in a knitted cap, will not help them grow, beyond these trade fairs.

To end, it's glad to see Uttarakhand people processing their grains to make namkeens, biscuits and tea-time snacks.

It's heart warming to see squashes made out of traditional Uttarakhand fruits.

When it comes to marketing and quality, the kiosk owners from other states are offering better products.


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