Improving the livelihood of small-scale farmers through entrepreneurship and online market access in Darjeeling District, West Bengal, India
Darjeeling district is known worldwide for its famous black tea and spices such as black pepper and cardamom. While big producer cater to the world market, the majority of small-scale farming communities in the region are tribal, marginalized and still practice agriculture traditionally without mechanization. This process not only involves a lot of manpower, but is also highly inefficient in terms of quantity produced per hour. Therefore, a good harvest for the farmers does not result in equivalent return, as they are not able to process the harvest efficiently and promptly to be sold in the local market. Further, due to high cost of transportation adding to their burden, the farmers are restricted and forced to sell their produce at local markets or to middlemen at prices with marginal or no profits. Due to ever increasing financial liabilities, the small-scale farmers lack means to invest in mechanization for farming or to access suitable markets with commensurate pricing for their products.