Govt to sell vegetables
Patna: The Bihar government will sell vegetables from outlets from October to help farmers get a good price and consumers fresh vegetables.
Initially, the project will be launched in five districts, including Patna. Later, vegetables will also be sold in other big cities of the country and will be exported abroad.
The project will run on the Bihar State Milk Co-operative Federation Ltd (Comfed) model. Just as Sudha milk is collected, processed and distributed, vegetables will be collected, processed and distributed. The department will procure local produce from farmers and sell it to the public.
Co-operative minister Rana Randhir Singh said: "We have constituted cooperatives in 97 blocks of five districts (Patna, Nalanda, Vaishali, Samastipur and Begusarai) where the project will be initially launched. From this October, we will start selling vegetables in the five cities from Sudha and Mother Dairy outlets."
Singh said initially Sudha and Mother Dairy outlets have been finalised.
"Once we develop our own infrastructure, we will start selling vegetables from our own outlets. Rs 50 crore has been earmarked for the project this budget although the total sum to be spent on the project is Rs 487 crore. We are making special purpose vehicle (SPV) related to the project. There will be a three-tier structure related to the project. One at the block level where the cooperative will function. Second, will be the districts where samitis will exist and third on the state level a federation will be formed for the purpose of upgrading the farmers' knowledge through literature."
A confederation of districts will also be in place, the work on which is on.
"Through this, confederation marketing of vegetables will be done so that farmers get a good price," the minister said.
Bihar has very fertile soil for producing vegetables. "We are currently the third largest vegetable producer in the country. Once the project is launched, I am sure we will come to the second slot," Singh said, adding: "Our target is to occupy the number one position as far as vegetable producing is concerned in the country."
The state government will also build cold storage chains so that vegetables remain fresh when it comes to the market. Such an arrangement would ensure consumers get quality vegetables at competitive prices and also spare farmers from loading and unloading prices and transport cost. "Farmers need not pay the storage cost too," Singh said.
The minister said the project is being launched keeping in view chief minister Nitish Kumar's dream of having one Bihari vegetable on every plate of the people of the country.