Connecting Farmers to Markets through a Marketing App



Jeremy Magruder

Associate Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at University of California, Berkeley

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07/01/2019 - 09/01/2020
Input and Output Markets
60 villages in Bihar, India

Photo Credit: Leocadio Sebastian

Transportation costs can limit farmers’ choice of where they sell their crops, and may affect which type of crops they grow, and how much of their harvest they sell, exchange, or consume. Transporting horticultural crops can be particularly costly for individual farmers without coordination across producers, given the potential for crop spoilage, and because optimal  cropping and harvesting cycles yield more frequent, small volume harvests. This study field tests a marketing service in Bihar, India, which aggregates produce from smallholder farmers at the village level and transports production to sell at market. The research sheds light on whether the individual costs of making trips to sell horticultural output at the market limit the profitability of commercialization for smallholders, particularly female-headed households who may face discrimination and rely on male household members to travel to market and manage their money. While the marketing company has established demand for the app-based service that coordinates bookings, pickups, and payments among farmers, this study analyzes how this service affects farmers’ production and marketing decisions and whether the service increases farmers’ profits.

This pilot is ongoing, and findings are forthcoming.