Now, fresh and cheaper vegetables at your doorstep

NHM launches Vegetables Supply for Urban Areas Scheme to ensure abundant and steady supply of vegetables at affordable prices straight from the field to consumers by eliminating middlemen

The national Horticulture Mission (NHM) has something to cheer for those who love fresh vegetables. It has launched Vegetables Supply for Urban Areas Scheme that aims to provide fresh vegetables at affordable prices by ensuring abundant and steady supply of vegetables straight from the field to the doorstep of consumers by snapping the middleman connection.

Encouraged by the success of a pilot project for the scheme in Mumbai last year, NHM has now decided to extend the project to cover Pune and Nagpur.

Under the project, over 8,000 farmers in five districts around the city will grow vegetables under the supervision of the authorities, which will be then collected and supplied to Pune through a parallel supply chain.

"Initially only around 15-20 popular vegetables will be chosen for production in clusters in Pune, Ahmednagar, Satara, Sangli and Solapur. Groups of 15-20 farmers will be formed who will grow a common vegetable," said Macchindranath Devnkiar, Managing Director of the NHM (Maharashtra).

NHM provides subsidy for the setting up of shednet for production. It will also provide subsidy for buying pushcarts and setting up of retail outlets, both of which will have facilities to preserve the vegetables for 48 hours.

The project, first of its kind in the country, kicked off in March 2011 when the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee allocated Rs 300 crore for development of the vegetable growing clusters in districts around state capitals. The decision was taken considering the recent crisis in vegetables supply in the country.

"The production of vegetables will start immediately. Each cluster is planned to have designated collection centres with cold storage facility where the vegetable produce will be stocked. From here, the produce will be collected by an agency, which would then bring the produce to Pune and distribute the same among the retailers designated by the NHM," said Devnikar.

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