Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Price of a Cauliflower interesting example of the difference between the "physical" and "economic opportunity" distance.

- From where I stay, if I drive a couple of Kms towards the local private airport in the evenings, just before the airport, I find people - mostly farmers from nearby areas - sitting on the roadside. They are the small farmers who come from the other side of Swarnarekha river, sit on the roadside and sell vegetables that they have produced. I can buy a cauliflower from them for around Rs.2/- or less (if I negotiate, I can even get 4 for Rs.3/-)

- Past the airport, I take the right turning, and after about 0.5Km, is the Gudari Bazaar, which in the evenings, becomes a sort of large vegetable mandi. The price of the cauliflower there ranges between Rs.5/- to 7/-.

- The place from where I buy vegetables is Dhatkidih, which is slightly tangential to the above, but within a range of a couple of Kms. I, and others, buy vegetable from the shops, and pay Rs.12-15/- for a cauliflower.

The guy sitting on the roadside before the airport does not have 'access' to mandi - or to customers who will pay Rs.5/- (or Rs.12-15/-) for the cauliflowers without a second thought...

even though
...he is within a range of a couple of Km from both the mandi and Dhatkidih shops, and

...he is the person, who used his land, time and toil to produce the cauliflower in the first place

(cross-posted at Alternative Perspective)

1 comment:

Mayank Krishna said...

There comes the power of information and supply networks. And that is the essence of revolutions like e-Choupal.

I have heard that fishermen in TN use their mobile phones to find the best price in various markets.

The question is how to make available the required information and logistical know-how to people like the cauliflower man?