As the state government goes ahead with its plan to delist fruits and vegetables, plans to set up alternate sources are gathering steam in the state. Other than setting up of a “hub and spoke” for supply of vegetables to Pune and Mumbai, there are also plans to boost entrepreneurship-driven retail experiments in selling vegetables in the metros.
Milind Akre, managing director of the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board, said the “hub and spoke” arrangement would see collection from farm gates. Refrigerated vans (Ref vans) would be used to collect vegetables from the farm gates and bring to a central collection centre. The main hub for this model for Pune and Mumbai is expected to come up at Talegaon by January 2018.
“Collection would be done from areas within a 280-km diameter. We have the list of 800 Farmer Producers Companies in the state and we will enlist them in the process,” he said.
MSAMB would be playing a facilitator for the project. “The National Dairy Development Board would be engaged as a consultant to the project and we have already written to them,” he said.
With a budget of around Rs 500 crore, the project is scheduled to kick off from January 2018.
Akre said this project would not see creation of new retail outlets. Instead, the MSAMB would be inviting the existing retail players to participate in the project.
The National Capital of Delhi already has a similar model where the Dairy Development Board operates 350-plus such retail shops and sells on a daily basis 300 metric tonnes of vegetables. The entire procurement network is spread across 16 states and involves more than 5,000 farmers.
There are also plans of either scaling up or implementing successful models developed by entrepreneurs in this field.
Ameya Supnekar of the Satara-based Krushak Ashram said they would be discussing their model of a retail in the field with the Minister of Cooperation Chandrakant Patil.
Since 2011, Krushak Ashram had started a farm to come up with a model for procurement and retail of vegetables in Pune. “We have a production plan ready for constant supply of 20-25 different kinds of vegetables. Also, we want to expand with the franchise model and hope the government will help us with the project,” he said.