| Customers buy vegetables from the Udyan Fresh outlet in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, Aug. 3: An outlet of Udyan Fresh, an initiative of the state horticulture department, opened in the city today.
The outlet aims to provide fresh vegetables and fruits to the consumers at reasonable prices. It also aims to strengthen the supply and distribution system of these commodities across the state.
The outlet sells a large variety of vegetables, mostly procured from Kandhamal and areas on the city outskirts. The fruits come from different parts of the state. Air-conditioning facilities have been installed at the store to keep the vegetables and fruits fresh.
“This is a good initiative by the state government because one can buy vegetables in a neat and clean environment here. The vegetables will be fresh and available at reasonable prices,” said Sabita Mohapatra, a resident of the city.
The outlet has been set up in public-private-partnership mode with Surendra Agritech Pvt. Ltd. While the government has provided land for the outlet, the private partner will ensure proper storage and marketing of the products. The directorate of horticulture will fix the price of the vegetables.
The private partner has procured mobile carts, which will sell the products near Odisha State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited kiosks.
While four Udyan Fresh outlets have been planned for the city initially, the construction of two have been completed. Sources in the state horticulture directorate said the outlet was opened for trial and another would soon begin operating near Unit-II market. The construction of two more outlets near Chandrasekharpur and CRPF Square is in progress.
“The outlet has been opened on a trial basis to assess the problems involved in procuring vegetables and fruits and selling them. The project will be formally inaugurated later,” said the deputy director of horticulture, Swayam Bikash Das.
The supply chain includes the private party setting up aggregation points for registered farmers to collect vegetables and bring them in cold vans to the market. The private party will also set up a cold storage to store vegetables. Sources said there were 6,000 registered farmers within a 50km radius of Bhubaneswar. Of these farmers, 300 will be supplying the fruits and vegetables. Weighing machines will be installed at various aggregation points. The city needs nearly 380 metric tonne of vegetables everyday.