The man who vitalised agrimarketing

The man who vitalised agrimarketing
The agricultural sector is in dire straits,” is the oft-heard argument these days. But it is time to remember a man who vitalised the agricultural marketing field in the State with his innovative ideas about seven decades ago. If you are wondering who this man is, it is R B Mamle Desai. He was instrumental in developing the concept of agricultural produce marketing committees (APMC).

Mamle Desai was born in 1916 and finished his matriculation in Dharwad. He later completed a degree in Law in Raja Lakamana college, Belagavi. Soon after, he joined the freedom movement with inspiration from Morarji Desai and other nationalist leaders. Mamle Desai also ventured into journalism. With an intention to inspire youngsters to join the freedom movement, he started a Kannada daily, Vishala Karnataka in 1947. Veteran journalists of the region such as Patil Puttappa and late Mohare Hanumantha Rao, and senior Congress leader K F Patil helped him in this venture. K F Patil also donated 500 acres of land for the paper’s smooth functioning. Mamle Desai was also an educationist.

Advisory committees
It was during the late 1940s that the agricultural marketing societies started picking up. As there was no set of rules, these societies functioned according to their needs. Though the very aim of every society was to alleviate the problems of the farming community, lack of coordination between these societies made them less efficient. Hence, the need for having a common set of rules to guide the marketing societies was felt and thus, an advisory committee, namely the Karnataka regulated market advisory committee, was set up in 1952. Mamle Desai, who took the reins of the advisory committee, served as its president for over 20 years. He is credited for starting a systematic training course for farmers and those involved in the agriculture marketing field. Such training was  extended to the staff of the agricultural produce marketing committees as well.

Recognising the committee’s yeomen service in the field of agricultural marketing, and its speciality in classifying agricultural produce, the Central government not only gave the task of imparting training to farmers and persons involved in marketing, but also provided necessary funds for the purpose. It is a well-known fact that the classification of agricultural produce is done based on its quality. It is here that marketing plays a special role. Mamle Desai was the one who advocated the need to classify agricultural produce according to its quality. He also initiated training programmes for farmers by inviting experts from the Delhi-based National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd.

In addition to this, Mamle Desai published small bulletins related to agrimarketing and gave it a definite shape by publishing Raitana Pete magazine. This was later renamed as Krishi Pete in 1955. Till today, it is serving the farming community with useful and relevant information about farming. He also used to give valuable suggestions to the State government on matters concerning agricultural field.

The APMC in Hubballi has been organising seminars and workshops on agricultural marketing since its inception. The first seminar was inaugurated by Morarji Desai. On August 18, 2016, the APMC gave a fitting tribute to Mamle Desai by organising a day-long workshop to mark his birth centenary. Also, a building has been constructed in the APMC premises in Hubballi in his memory. A life-size photo of this towering personality adorns the entrance hall, inspiring everyone who visits the office.

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