NAGPUR: The state agriculture department started 21 vegetable outlets manned completely by farmers with a lot of fanfare in February this year under the ‘vegetable initiative’ by the department. But, unfortunately, these shops could not sustain for varied reasons and now only five outlets are running.
However, the department has not given up the idea. It will be relaunching the shops once again in winter with more vigour and under a different format as it claims to be committed towards both farmers as well as consumers. It wants to gradually do away with the middlemen and increase the profit margin for farmers and also deliver the vegetables to consumers at an affordable price.
The department had started six shops each in Pratap Nagar and Civil Lines (Kadimbagh nursery), two in Lashkaribagh, one each in Trimurti Nagar, Nara-Nari, Yashodhra Nagar, and three on Kamptee Road in Uppalwadi, Bhilgaon Naka and Kamal chowk. Now, only one shop in Civil Lines and four shops in Trimurti Nagar area are functional.
Speaking to TOI, the district superintending agriculture officer Archana Kadu said that the 21 shops were an experiment which did not work very well in its existing form. The department has now planned a total change in the project form which is expected to rejuvenate these shops. Another major change in the offing is that the project will now be jointly implemented by the agriculture marketing board in collaboration with agriculture department for a better professional approach.
“There were some problems in the earlier system. Not all farmers grow all vegetables and so only limited vegetables were available in these shops. Besides farmers did not have enough time to sit the whole day in the shops. Transportation was not profitable. Above all, out of the expected 10,000 hectares under vegetable in the district only 6000ha area was being cultivated during last season. But in next season there will be massive changes in the system,” she said.
Kadu said that most vegetables are grown as winter or Rabi crop whereas grains are cultivated as summer or Kharif crops. So, in summer the vegetables are not easily available. To ensure that supply remains steady throughout the year, farmers will be asked to grow different vegetables in small groups and in prefixed areas. “With this, each shop will have a full basket of vegetables to sell,” said Kadu who added that community organizations will also be roped in to make the rejigged endeavour a success.
Vegetables like onion and potato, which are not grown in the district, will be procured by the agriculture department from the open market and sold in their stalls at market rates.
Source: Times Of India