About 3,000 acres of farmland just outside Chennai and another 2,000 acres outside Hyderabad have been identified for what will be dedicated vegetable farms for these cities. These farms will begin supplying vegetables in 2-3 months.
This is part of the UPA government’s plan, likely to be announced within a week, to keep vegetable prices in check by setting up dedicated vegetable farm clusters near major cities. “The idea is to have vegetable clusters within 50 km of major cities,” agriculture secretary PK Basu told HT. The Yamuna bed could be turned into a vegetable farm for Delhi.
The recent rise in prices of onions, tomatoes and other vegetables, which took food inflation to 13.8% in December-end last year — it was 15.57% for the week ended January 15 — singed the government and dampened the feel-good mood over high economic growth.
Soaring vegetable, milk and egg prices and not those of wheat, rice and lentils are mainly responsible for rising food inflation. So, the government has decided to embark on “sectoral interventions” in select commodities to keep food inflation in check.
Under the plan, the Centre will bear 85% of the cost of setting up these farms. “The growers will be provided 50% of their input costs as subsidies,” said I Rani Kumidini, horticulture chief of Andhra Pradesh.