For an agrarian country like India, particularly, for Uttar Pradesh, producing a large share of food resources, the 'Mandi' or the wholesale food grain and agro-produce market, is vital. It becomes a platform that bring together the otherwise spatially separated suppliers (farmers) and consumers (buyers). Ideally it is a place, where the farmer meets the buyer of his produce through a middleman who helps facilitate the process of selling in a transparent manner for a commission chargeable to the buyer. DFI was invited by the U.P Mandi Parishad, to research the role and functioning of this very complex food distribution system, identify lacunae and provide solutions to revamp it and make it as effective as possible.
The design challenge in the whole process was to design a model that replaced the existing processes, was familiar to the farmers of Uttar Pradesh and at the same time allowed them to upgrade to a newer paradigm inspired by newer technology and newer methods.
For the realisation of such a project a multi-disciplinary team of researchers with an eye for observation and analysis, laterally thinking ideators, design managers who are experts in coordination, creators of the concepts and those who finally execute the design worked as a consortium.
The core of the whole process remains the human centric design processes targeted towards solving problems and needs of various stakeholders. The end solutions include services, policies, products and building designs. dfi also came out with a reference manual for designers to plan and develop such Mandis in the future.
The concept of the architecture for the Mandis has been based largely on research; the activities decided the programme brief and layout design and an analysis of the 'arrival quantities' of the past fifteen years along with projected future trends laid the foundation for the circulation pattern and the sizes and number of shops. In essence, design interventions have been made to ease the process flow which is crucial to any Mandi.
New platforms such as a retail market, commodity specific markets, an agro mall and kisaan bazaar (Farmers market) have been introduced for buying and selling of the commodities. All these platforms will enable the farmer to get better prices for his commodities, thereby facilitating a larger role for him.