TThe Kerala State Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd. (KERALA MARKETFED) is soon to enter into retail trade with the objective of providing quality goods at reasonable prices to the people. This is one of the proposals envisaged by Marketfed in its rehabilitation package submitted to the State Government which is being processed at the department level. Initially, plans are afoot to open mini super markets attached to 10 cashew factories of Kerala Cashew Development Corporation located in Quilon District to cater to the needs of cashew workers as well as the local public. Our aim is to make available quality pulses, rice, spices, curry powders, branded products of popular and established distributors in foodstuff and FMCG articles etc. at competitive prices. Considering the welfare and wellbeing of the cashew workers, the KSCDC has agreed to provide rent-free space to locate the mini super markets.
In the field of distribution of inputs, Marketfed has been making remarkable progress over the last few years by supplying all types of inputs including organic and bio fertilizers to the farmers through societies at reasonable prices without compromising on its quality. By handling more than 20 % of the total requirements of fertilizers in the state, the Marketfed has offered to act as the Nodal Agency of the State Government for distribution of fertilizers with the objective of keeping buffer stocks for distribution at the right time to the farmers and thus ensuring supply throughout the year and eliminate exploitation of farmers by the middlemen. With this objective in mind, for the first time in the history of Kerala, Marketfed was able to bring rake-loads of Rock Phosphate and Urea to Quilon rail head for keeping buffer stock for the successful implementation of Coconut Development Programme which has been entrusted to Marketfed by the Coconut Development Board. Considering the good demand for suphala complex fertilizer in Wyand and Calicut Districts for which the farmers were approaching Marketfed very often, we were able to bring one rake-load to Calicut Rail head exclusively for distribution by Marketfed, again for the first time ever.
Marketing of chillies, pulses, food grains etc. in Kerala are yet other fields that the Marketfed is entering very soon. A field study by the Managing Director and Directors of Marketfed has already been undertaken to source these commodities from their respective production centers in Andhra and other states and market them in the state at competitive price ensuring quality.
In the area of trade in spices in which Marketfed has developed a nationwide reputation and brand name over the decades, we have launched our new brand of spices titled “Seasonings”. The intention is to market quality spices procured directly from the farmers all over the state, especially targeting the tourists to Kerala. Marketfed has already opened a procurement depot at Nedumkandam (Iduki District) for purchasing cardamom and pepper directly from farmers by avoiding middlemen and their exploitation. By procuring cardamom from the farmers we have been able to maintain the prices at higher levels.
Marketfed has also initiated groundwork for constructing godowns at Nedumbasseri (Ernakulam Dist), Calicut, Taliparamba, Kaduvakkulam (Kottayam District) and Chavara (Quilon District). Project reports prepared by M/s. KITCO for constructing the above godowns under RKVY scheme, have already been cleared by the Board of Directors of Marketfed and are under the consideration of the Government.
Marketfed is planning to resume its coconut oil business with the help of its popular brand name “Kerajam” once again, both in domestic market and for exports.
SRI.P. MICHAEL VETHA SIROMANI, IAS.