With Delhi’s Azadpur mandi in the process of consultations to end its monopoly over distribution of fruit and vegetables, the process of setting up replacement markets for farmers is likely to be in place by September. Discussions are on with the Haryana government for similar mandis in that state.
The first mandi will come up in the Nafed premises in Delhi’s Lawrence road and will have around 25,000 sq ft of space.
A total of around 5-7 mandis are planned in Delhi and, of the 15,000 tonne of supplies that Azadpur supplies to the Delhi region, the kisan mandis hope to get a market share of 5-7% soon. Around 60% of Delhi’s consumption comprises potatoes, onions and tomatoes.
The mandis are being set up by Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), a society under the agriculture ministry, and hope to reduce prices by around 20-25% once farmers get to sell in competitive markets as opposed to ones dominated by cartels.
Parvesh Sharma, managing director, SFAC, says “The Big Bazaars and the Reliance Freshs have told us they will come and buy in these mandis ... with Azadpur’s monopoly going, these large buyers have nowhere to buy from, going to the farmgate is not so easy.”
Once the mandis work out as an alternative to Azadpur-type mandis, Sharma believes, even the
mandis will start changing their practices.
Sharma adds the SFAC, set up in the mid-1990s, has promoted over 300 FPOs across states and more than six lakh farmers are associated with it — of these, around 50 are in the Delhi region. The idea, Sharma says, is to bring direct delivery to large apartment complexes as well. “People can place their orders on phone or email, the SPOs will consolidate them, and deliver them the same or the next day.”
Depending on how it works, Sharma says, even the Delhi Milk Scheme’s 2,000-odd kiosks can be given direct supply, so when you go to buy your milk, you can pick up vegetables.
While farmers will be showcasing their produce in Kisan Mandi, the actual storage of fruit and vegetables would be done in various godowns located in
National Capital Region (NCR) and would be transported directly to target consumers by FPOs.
The Kisan Mandi will offer basic infrastructure for storage to the FPOs who set up stalls, which also includes basic godowns, grading, cold store as well as logistics handling facilities.