To keep the prices of vegetables and fruits stable on a long-term basis, the state agriculture department wants take farmers’ produce directly to consumers in the city. For this, the department is inviting corporates to enter the vegetable and fruits retail sector, in partnership with the government.
The Maharashtra government wants to incorporate the ‘Amul’ model into the vegetable and fruits sector, with farmer cooperatives at the village level, federated under the farmers’ union at the district level and a federation at the state level.
Currently, the vegetables and fruits sold by vendors in markets are brought from the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market, where middlemen buy goods from wholesalers and transport it to retailers and the sale price is hiked several times.
It is because of this price hike that the government has intervened by selling vegetables at 40-50% cheaper than market rates.
“About 1,800 tonnes of vegetables and fruits come into Mumbai every day from the APMC. Even if we can tap 2030% of this market, it seems like a venture that will work,” said SK Goyal, additional chief secretary of the state’s agriculture and marketing department.
He added that Maharashtra has a Rs2500-crore agriculture market, as yet untapped by corporates.
“This scheme will cut out the middleman. The farmers’ federations will look after procurement, processing and storage, and selling to vegetable stores. We will only act as a link between farmers and corporates, who will be marketing and selling the products,” Goyal said.