In January the turmeric farmers of Maharashtra’s Sangli district outside Kolkata were facing a huge dilemma. An oversupply of products had crashed prices in the local market and something needed to be done. Basically, there were thousands of farmers in the area all growing the same product. To avoid a huge crash in price, someone would have to coordinate all the growers.
Atul Salunkhe, a local farmer had a great idea. He had just recently opened a Facebook account and he knew some other growers who were connected to the site as well. He contacted some of them and suggested that they cut production for a few days. This was a huge sacrifice because they all depend on their crops to earn a living.
The plan ended up being that no one should attend the local auction to sell their goods in an effort to drive up demand for the product. 35 local growers were initially contacted, but what ended up happening was the news spread to over 25,000 growers. Essentially the auction that week was empty and no growers were in attendance.
The boycott had avoided a price crash and market value actually increased. It was a huge success for growers. Facebook brought something invaluable to the community: communication and coordination. No doubt, social networking of this variety will play a crucial role in Indian farming in the future.