BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 20: Vegetables produced in Assam are set to be marketed outside the State under the banner of a brand, with the tiol Dairy Development Board (NDDB) planning a joint venture with the State government for operatiolising a fruit and vegetable project in a few selected districts of the State.
In fact, the NDDB has also started procuring ginger, cucumber and tomato from Barpeta in Assam which is being marketed in Delhi.
“The State government wants us to venture into the vegetable sector. We want to ensure that the items are properly sourced. We may also market the products under a particular brand,” the board’s chairman T nd Kumar said after a meeting with Chief Secretary Jitesh Khosla.
He said the board will be looking to set up cooperative societies and organize clusters of producers from whom the products can be procured.
“We have been told that the farmers are selling their products at throw away prices. We intend to give the best price to the farmers. Moreover, the products that will be marketed should be pesticide free, as the areas we are looking at are not known to use such chemicals. We are currently trying to understand various aspects of the project including quality, pricing and other logistics,” nd Kumar said.
Once the project gets some direction, the mece of middlemen is likely to diminish, which in turn will help bring retail prices under control.
Despite surplus production of vegetables in many areas, farmers in rural Assam have not been benefitted due to lack of marketing facilities. They sell off their products at throw away prices to middlemen who work under syndicates.
At least three truckloads of vegetables have been already lifted from Barpeta and are being taken to Delhi. The project will include marketing of both frozen and fresh vegetables.
The fruit and vegetable business of the board is looked after by Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable.
Safal, the fruit and vegetable arm of Mother Dairy was the first company to organize the fruit and vegetable business in India. Today Safal is the market leader in organized fruit & vegetable retail business in Delhi NCR and operates the largest number of F&V Stores in Delhi NCR and has significant presence in Bangalore. Safal was also the first brand in India to launch frozen vegetable in the mid 90s. Over the years, the brand has gained significant customer support and has become a household brand with market leadership and presence across the country.
Mother Dairy procures fruits and vegetables from 15 states through 110 associations, which together have 10,000 farmers as members. It has a state-of-the-art facility in West Delhi from where all the products are distributed.