Diagen Kharelov Director of Market Co-op
Co-op built 1st wholesale market in village
78 Cooperative members
20 Consistent traders
1200 people use the market every year
Market sells 100 tonnes/day during peak season.
Before the Project:
Like other farmers in the region, I grew my vegetables quite successfully, but since there was no wholesale market in our village, I had a hard time selling them. In 2005 I became part of a cooperative whose purpose was to build a wholesale market, and in 2010 I was voted Director. It made sense to have a market in our village considering almost 60% of us rely on agriculture as our primary source of income. Before cooperation with the UHDP, we realized a few small successes in building the basic infrastructure of the market and attracting a few traders to do business with us, however, relationships between farmers and traders were weak due to a lack of communication and undefined terms of business.
Insufficient stable relationships with traders and market-place was in poor condition.
Since working with the Project we have made improvements to the structure and functionality of the market, as well as to the organization of the cooperative as a whole. To the market place we have installed electricity, running water and two cold-storage units. Operationally, we are working to be more organized and efficient. Project specialists show cooperative members how to grow better quality, more uniform crops, which we then package according to traders’ specifications. Roundtable events, which the Project helps initiate, bring together farmers, traders and Project specialists to discuss issues from the past season, and exchange ideas about how to improve outcomes for farmers and traders in the coming seasons.
Physical improvements in the market, including the addition of the cold-storage units, have allowed us to deal with greater volumes of cooled produce, which consequently attracts more traders. In peak season we sell 100 tonnes of produce per day! Furthermore, thanks to enhanced communication between farmers and traders, relationships are solidified and terms of business are clear. We now have a consistent base of 20 traders who regularly buy from us. Before the Project, I could count the farmers willing to cooperate on one hand, now the number of farmers using the market to sell their produce is up to 1200!
Even though I don’t receive a salary for my role as Cooperative Leader and Market Director, since opening the market and having access to consistent traders, my income from the sale of my produce has grown by 30%. These results are not unique; we are all seeing the benefits of working with the traders, and that is why I do what I do- to make things better for everyone!