Farmers across India, are always chasing the market and choosing to grow crops for which there is “assured and broadbased” demand. Unfortunately, they are repeatedly thrown off track because they find that at harvest time the demand has vanished. This is because growing in a market supply-demand driven environment is always volatile. In a sense, by the time the government starts advising thousands of farmers to grow a “hit” commodity, they’ve already destroyed the market for it – and for marginal farmers its devastating.
As soon as a crop (say vanilla) provides good returns, everyone starts growing it – which inevitably leads to a glut in the market that drives prices down. We’ve seen this for so many commodities – rubber, vanilla, turmeric etc over the last few years. And this has always been true. From a “marketers perspective” it makes sense to grow what others don’t – it helps differentiate and also creates a favourable supply-demand situation.
But the most useful and reliable method is (no surprise here) speaking to customers (especially cafes, restaurants and hotels) which are located close to where you grow. It always amazes me what serious chefs are looking for and open to buying if its really fresh.