New gov't plan to help farmers

India: Fruit, veg to be sold to be sold at dairy kiosks

The government in Mumbai is planning to open a new revenue stream for Aarey milk booth owners, as well as opening up a robust sales and distribution network for farmers selling their fruit and vegetables in the city.

Aarey milk booths sell milk and milk products as well as chips, chocolates and cold drinks. Soon, citizens will also be able to buy fruit and vegetables at the booths.

Aarey, which is controlled by the state government's Dairy Development Department, has over 400 booths in the city. Since all these kiosks are to the north of Aarey's Worli dairy, the government is also considering roping in Mother Dairy, which is run by the Union-government controlled National Dairy Development Board, and has another 400 outlets in the city. The state government on July 5 issued an ordinance amending the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, 1963, taking the sale of vegetables and fruits out of its ambit. While earlier, farmers could sell their produce only at the APMC markets, now they are free to sell to whoever gives them the best price.

The government believes the kiosks have enough space to be able to store vegetables and fruits too. 

Minister of State for Agriculture and Horticulture Marketing Sadabhau Khot said the farmers bringing their produce to Mumbai are currently setting up their pitches on pavements. "I am proposing that we use Aarey milk stalls to sell vegetables and fruits," he said. 

"Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is very positive about Aarey letting farmers sell their produce through its network. By next month, the city consumers will see agriculture produce reaching them directly," said Khot, who has also proposed exclusive farmers' markets in the city. 

A senior official in the Dairy Development Department, who did not wish to be identified, said Aarey would be more than happy to help farmers. "The proposal is being discussed and it is a matter of time before Aarey kiosks start selling vegetables and fruits," he said.


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