The BAIF route for aggregation of Wadi families and produce is formation of a network of cooperatives across various clusters in a region.
Broadly, there is a three-tier structure as follows:
- At the village or hamlet level, there are groups of primary producers, which collect produce from all members. The aggregated produce is sold to a cluster-level cooperative at a pre-determined price.
- At the cluster level there is a cooperative, which buys produce at a pre-determined price. Cluster-level cooperatives do partial or full processing of the produce, and/or sell in wholesale markets, or the next level of cooperative. Read a case study about cashew cooperatives.
- At the apex level, there is a cooperative that receives produce from cluster-level cooperatives. The apex level cooperative has a full-fledged processing and packing unit. It sells produce in processed or raw forms to different wholesale players, or directly in retail markets. Read about the Vasundhara cooperative.
Cooperatives also act as buyers procuring inputs like fertilisers in large quantities for sale to members at fair prices. Read a case study about different sources of income of cooperatives.
Participation in activities of cooperatives is entirely voluntary. Families can choose to sell part or all of their produce directly, and they can choose to buy inputs from other sources.
The practice of open market principles ensures that primary producers always get the best possible sale or purchase price. The marketing channel also remains open to entry by other players.
Cooperatives formed in a Wadi project co-exist with other cooperatives, if any (such as dairy cooperatives), and over a period of time, they branch out into other areas of business such as sale of flowers and milk, or production of value-added items like cashew nutshell liquid and murabba from amla fruit.
Based on its rich experience of developing cooperatives and market linkages, BAIF has formed an apex organisation called VAPCOL, to address marketing needs of producers across all areas of India where BAIF has a presence.