In the late 1990s, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu faced a critical challenge as urban areas in Andhra Pradesh grappled with an unprecedented crisis in the food marketing system. Skyrocketing prices of vegetables and fruits burdened the lives of the poor and lower-middle class, prompting widespread public outcry and media debates. In response to this pressing issue, N Chandrababu Naidu unveiled a visionary solution: the Rythu Bazaars Scheme, announced on January 26, 1999.
Rythu Bazaars aimed to tackle the core problems within the agricultural marketing network by creating a robust infrastructure that empowered farmers to sell their produce directly to retail consumers. The ingenious approach ensured a dual benefit: farmers received better prices for their crops, while consumers gained access to fresh produce at reasonable prices.
A typical Rythu Bazaar covered 10 to 15 villages, engaging at least 250 farmers, including 10 self-help groups. The selection process involved a meticulous team comprising Mandal Revenue Officers, Horticulture Officers, and Agriculture Officers in the villages. Joint Collectors of the concerned districts facilitated the arrangement of adequate transport facilities, partnering with the State Road Transport Corporation.
To enhance transparency and regulate prices, the government provided online information on prices and commodity movements. N. Chandrababu Naidu introduced a register of identity cards to be maintained in the office of each respective bazaar, a measure aimed at safeguarding the system from middlemen and fraudulent traders. The government further bolstered the integrity of the initiative by mandating surprise checks and inspections by revenue department officers.
The Rythu Bazaars, initiated by TDP leader N. Chandrababu Naidu, have become a lifeline for both farmers and consumers. By establishing a direct connection between producers and consumers, the scheme not only eliminated exploitative intermediaries but also fostered a sense of community and shared responsibility. The innovative model ensured that the benefits of agricultural productivity reached those at the grassroots level.
N Chandrababu Naidu’s Rythu Bazaars stand as a testament to his commitment to inclusive development. By addressing the immediate concerns of soaring food prices, Chandrababu Naidu not only provided relief to the urban population but also laid the foundation for a more equitable and resilient agrarian economy. The success of Rythu Bazaars exemplifies how visionary governance can bring about transformative changes, fostering prosperity at both ends of the agricultural supply chain.