The State Agriculture Marketing Board has decided to engage cooperatives to build a network for the supply of fresh vegetables in the city.
“We have decided to utilise a 42,000square foot area developed for the flower auction depot at Goregaon to store vegetables. Since flower traders refused to shift to Goregaon from Dadar, the depot has been lying idle. It will facilitate procurement, storage and cleaning of vegetables sold by farmers directly to the state,” said Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, agriculture minister.
The minister said that the board is procuring 200 vehicles that would be handed over to cooperatives for supply of vegetables.
“The vans, costing around Rs6.5 lakh, will be utilised to supply produce to fair price centres and to housing societies and complexes in the city. Housing complexes are usually wary about setting up vegetable centres as they fear encroachment in the future. In such cases, we are contemplating vegetable vehicles that reach the society on demand.”
The board is expecting vegetable-growing farmers from Thane, Panvel, Nashik and Pune to approach the city centre for the direct sale of their produce.
Vikhe Patil said that though cooperatives have started fairprice centres on a no-profit-noloss basis, the government is chalking out a financial module to make the centres feasible:
“With the help of the findings from the Centre, we are thinking of the subsidies, so that this concept becomes sustainable.”