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Diversity in Agricultural Seasons and Crops:

India is a very diverse country, having multiple climates in different parts, different crops and different crop patterns. The variation of temperatures in Northern region is 1 degree to 45 degree Celsius, whereas in south, it is almost stable around 30 degrees. The monsoon also varies and so does its arrival in the country leading to variation in crop patterns. The major crops in India are divided into four categories, Food Grains (Rice, Wheat, Maize, Millets and Pulses), Cash Crops (Cotton, Jute, Sugarcane, Tobacco, and Oilseeds), Plantation Crops (Tea, Coffee, Coconut and, Rubber) and Horticulture Crops (Fruits and Vegetables). On the basis of seasons, the crops in India have been divided into Rabi, Kharif and Zaid crops. These variations are the major causes of different challenges in different regions. The level of adoption of technology is also different in different regions. The fertiliser usage per acre in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland is 2.4 kg and 3.2 kg respectively whereas the usage in Haryana and Punjab is 220 kg and 243 kg. In most of the states in India, the average consumption is much below 200 kg per hectare. This vast variation also shows the huge opportunities in rural India, arable land vs non arable land and scope of micro irrigation and soluble agri inputs.

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Role of Cooperatives and Self Help Groups

The role of cooperatives cannot be ruled out in the growth of rural economy. Cooperative movements like Amul is the one of the biggest examples. In fact, dairy and sugar co-operatives have made India a ‘Major Nation’ in the world with regard to ‘milk’ and ‘sugar’ production. Today, India can claim to have the largest network of co-operatives in the world numbering more than half a million, with a membership of more than 200 million. The cooperative credit facilities and distribution of fertilisers and agrochemicals have been a huge success. The cooperative sugar mills in Western Maharashtra have changed the fortunes of the farmers in that belt. Although cooperatives have failed in many parts of the country due to political interference and corruption, still this movement has changed the entire country’s mind-set towards agricultural growth. Self-help groups have mostly worked for women empowerment. In the stimulus package announced by the union finance minister to fight COVID 19, collateral free loans have doubled for women self-help groups (SHGs) from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. This will help 63 lakh SHGs covering 7 crore families. There are 44.61 lac women SHGs as of March, 2019. The following news appeared in the Tribune News Service, Chandigarh on March 6. After leaving her government job as a Mathematics teacher in the early 90s, Ludhiana based Gurdev Kaur Deol decided to empower rural women and girls. It started as a small group in the form of a self-help group and today she is transforming the lives of 300 families by marketing their produce through Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs). She is not a lone example. There are many women and NGOs who are engaged in transforming the lives of rural women through self-help groups. The women who were unemployed earlier are now earning anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000 per month. This income is making women more decisive and independent. Self Help Groups are building nation. Rural marketing is the approach to see these opportunities and help people of rural India to realise their dreams and aspirations. There is a huge plethora of areas and geographies where the marketers can start, move and grow with the growing economy of rural India. Rural India is calling, “Come with us let’s grow together.”

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Factors Influencing Rural Marketing

Rural marketing can be defined as fulfilling the aspirations of rural India, the aspirations of all classes, young and old, the educated, unskilled and the skilled, the women, farmers, labourers and every Indian residing in rural India. It fulfils their dreams, ambitions, and expectations from this country and the life they want. The influence of the cities, metros and foreign lands is entering their lives through TV and the internet. The girls are going to schools, colleges and universities. Women are becoming independent, running self-help groups, learning skills and holding strong and decisive positions in society. A lot of women sarpanches and corporate executives show the position is changing. The underprivileged society is rising with the power of skills and education, with the help of reservation and their hard work. The dream of social equality in India seems closer. With the rise in opportunities and financial support, MSME’s are popping up everywhere with new and old ideas; performing, struggling, creating jobs, fulfilling dreams and giving vision to the society. The growth in the service sector white collared jobs in rural India have given birth to another class. The growth is apparent from the retail chains entering rural India. Government focussing on agriculture and allied sectors is a clear indication that the growth story of India will be written on the rural pages.

 

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Agro Mechanisation and Automation of Rural India

The mechanisation in agri-sector have been on the rise since many decades. But now with the integration of communication channels and availability of knowledge and awareness, it has become seamless. This activity has helped the farmers to adopt new technologies into their lifestyle and farming. Many automation companies and auto mechanisation have entered into the market and are making solutions available. This market is going to improve a lot in the coming years. The integration of automation with internet and connecting it with satellites would be doing wonders. I believe the next few decades will be completely different. I expect there will be huge changes in marketing as well.

Health and Medical Facilities in Rural India:

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Health and Medical Facilities in Rural India

In a Gaon Connection Survey, every third person living in rural India (36%) prefers going to a private doctor. Let us look at the figures to find out what is in store for rural India in the health sector. In India, there is one government allopathic doctor for every 10,000 people, one government hospital for every 2,000 people and one state run hospital for every 100,000 people. The WHO report, published in 2016, said 31.4% of those calling themselves allopathic doctors were educated only up to Class 12 and 57.3% doctors did not have a medical qualification. The percentage of live births where the mother got medical attention at delivery either at a government or private hospital rose from 73.1% in 2012 to 81.9% in 2017 at the all India level. Similarly, 47% got attention before their death in 2017, up from 34.6% in 2012. As per a survey, there are only around eight diagnostic labs per 100,000 people in India and diagnostic facilities have a very low reach in small towns and villages. The figures are dismal but clearly shows the scope for the health care companies, hospitals and the medical testing labs. I see a great potential in all 6 lakh villages where 70% of India resides.