Punjab is the only Sikh majority state in India. Punjab is also known as Granary of the India. The Punjab State’s co-operation supply & marketing federation ltd. known as “Markfed” was registered in 1954, from then they have been working for the farmer’s welfare. Multiple innovative incentive schemes have been introduced for the benefits of the farmers. 

Markfed is Asia’s one of the largest cooperative marketing federation having more than 3000 primary agriculture cooperative societies as its members. It began with 1 bicycle, 3 employees, 13 members and a capital of Rs. 54,000/-. Markfed has come a long way with the sales turnover of Rs. 12,386 crores. Markfed contributes in Research and Development through Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana. For complete information on the topic Krishi Jagran, team had interviewed The Managing Director of Markfed Mr. Gurkirat Kripal Singh. Excerpts from an interview -

What was the objective of establishment of Markfed?
We all depend upon agriculture to meet our requirement of food. We get our food because the farmer grows crops and carries the agricultural activities. Therefore, Markfed was formed to help the farmers by giving market competitive rates to the agri-produce and provide quality agri-inputs to the farmers.

Is Markfed helpful to farmers and what is Markfed doing for the welfare of farmers?
Like I said, the first objective of Markfed’s establishment is to provide maximum profit to the farmers. For accomplish this objective, Markfed is helping the farmers in several ways.  Markfed Procurement of agri-produce like Wheat, Paddy and Cotton from farmers and it distribute agri-inputs like quality seeds, fertilizers and agro-chemicals to the farmers. Through co-operative societies and dealers Markfed supplies Cattle feed to farmers. It also processes Vanaspati/Refined Oils, Ready-to-eat canned Foods and Bottled products and Basmati Rice at its own units. For welfare of the farmer Markfed has provided water and soil testing services at the farmer’s doorstep. It has also set up Honey Processing Plant and the honey for the same shall procure from farmers. Markfed has been entrusted the job of distribution of fertilizers through Cooperative Societies in the state. Markfed has played a vital role in timely supply of fertilizers of state by making advance stocking. Union Fertilizer Minister in Parliament appreciated the role of Markfed for doing timely stocking. 

What are the Policies & strategies adopted by Markfed to encourage the farmers?
Most of the farmers are simple, hard-working, sincere and honest people. They always remain at the mercy of nature and God. Markfed has introduced several schemes for the benefit of the farmers. Markfed has introduced an insurance scheme, which provides compensation in case of accidental death or permanent disablement of its farmer members. For farmers Markfed has developed a strong network at block level. We have got various branches in the districts who communicate with the farmers through Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies in order to identify the needs of the farmers for various agri-inputs like agro-chemicals and fertilizers. We estimate their requirements and accordingly create an advance stocking for timely supply of the agri-inputs. For the purpose, we use our storage capacities and godowns. In order to give maximum benefits to the farmers, value addition is done to the agri-produce like at Markfed Canneries and Rice Mills. Markfed is planning to market Fresh Fruits and vegetables in an organized manner. To help marginal, small and medium farmers to sell their produce at better remuneration.

Markfed is dealing into which products?
Markfed is engaged in procurement of Food grains, distribution of agricultural inputs like fertilizer and agrochemicals, marketing of agri-produce in the form of processed fruits and vegetables, Ready-to-Eat products, Vanaspati and Refined Oils, marketing of Jam, Pickles, Honey, Spices, Basmati Rice, Atta, Salt, Tea, Masala, Jaggery, Sugar and lot more.

Markfed Vanaspati and Allied Industries, Khanna produces SOHNA brand of Vanaspati Ghee and Refined Oils like Sunflower Oil, Soybean Oil, Groundnut Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Canola Oil and Mustard Oil. The cooking mediums under the brand name SOHNA are being marketed not only in Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Mumbai and Kerala but are also being exported to Middle East and Australia.

Markfed has its modern rice mill at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahar) in Punjab where basmati paddy and other variants of Basmati are being processed. SOHNA Basmati Rice is known all over the world for its quality and aroma. SOHNA basmati rice is matured to perfection in special ageing chambers, giving it that soft glow of burnished ivory, distinct aroma and a rich smooth taste unmatched by any other rice. Each translucent grain of SOHNA basmati is a tasteful treasure. Markfed exports SOHNA Basmati Rice to the Middle East, Australia, USA, Canada and New-Zealand.

The old Canneries of Markfed was set up in 1970. With old and depleted technology and buoyed by the success of its products in the export market, Markfed decided to set up a latest state of the art “Food Processing Unit“ near Jalandhar with three times more capacity than the existing unit. Markfed has recently set up a new food processing unit at village Chuharwali, Distt. Jalandhar at a cost of Rs. 50 crores. Armed with latest packaging techniques, the RTE products will now be packed in cans, retortable pouches and in plastic containers much to the convenience of the consumers. Besides it will introduce many new RTE products, Fruits in syrup and all variants of spices.

Markfed has got cattle feed plant at Gidderbaha and Kapurthala that provides cattle feed to the farmers for dairy purposes. Markfed Agro Chemical unit at Mohali is engaged in the formulation of quality pesticides and weedicides to protect crop from weeds, insects and fungal diseases. It has been granted registration by Central Insecticides Board, Government of India and Faridabad for production of 78 products.

How can the farmers get directly linked with markfed?
Farmers can link with the Markfed through Primary Agricultural cooperative Societies.

Any message for farmers?
In order to eliminate the mediators and to reap maximum benefits, the farmers should associate with Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies to get best prices for the agri produce and quality for the agricultural inputs. 

By – Sonal Handa

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