Dec 21, 2011

Rural market urban goods – Why rural commodities haven’t succeeded to make niche position in urban market

By – Anoop Jha

Breaking the inertia of urban business dominance over rural communities

In the developing countries like India, when it comes to consumer needs the urban rural gap seems to be disappearing, which was not the case a decade ago.  The rural reliance on urban goods have been an increasing phenomenon in recent past due to higher standard of living, increased affordability, choosy customers etc. Take for example a very essential commodity of daily needs i.e. “Milk”, which is supposedly product of villages due to usual abundance of cattle, buffalos and cows, but imaging the growing dependence of rural population on “packaged milk” which is produced in some remote dairy farm and travels thousands of kilometers before being consumed in this particular village, which is quite ironical. 

 Urban Rural Market Dynamics and strategies
Urban  dominance over rural  business 
There might me many reasons behind this particular scenario of using packaged milk in spite the availability of local fresh milk like - readily available - on demand goods, local small storage facilities for perishable goods, direct linkages to urban market, awareness to quality of goods, similar hierarchical product packaged for different affordability group, either manipulated by monopoly of big dairy owner or trying to break the monopoly of local milkman who at times manipulates with the quality of milk, availability of goods to cater to seasonal bulk demand etc. etc.

Question is, why the urban commodities have been able to penetrate the rural market but rural products except agro products have only been limited to the small urban cultural markets, like, Pragati maidan, Delhi Haat, seasonal artesian mela etc. Are there any utilitarian perception attached to the rural goods in urban context or has it become a showpiece item to be decorated in the drawing room or to be worn on occasional events or is it that urban merchants are way smarter than the rural counterparts? Is it that rural community has been deprived of knowledge of cunning and manipulating business skills of urban nature, which seem to be a common survival practice expansion strategy of urban businesses?  Is it that rural business lack the skill set to sell their product in quantum. Is it that intermediate agencies involved in the urban rural dynamics are taking the advantage without rural community being aware of such possibilities?  Whatever it is, this issue can be dealt with little business motivation, rural community participation, capacity building and involvement of public agencies.  

Policy makers and administrators need to strengthen and expedite urban rural forward-backward linkages along with providing business education, training related to workmanship, strengthening local art and craft, teaching ethical value of quality control, asking for community participation to benefit rural market. 

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