'Kisan Mandi' launched for small farmers to sell fruits, vegetables directly to bulk consumers

Small farmers would soon be able to sell fruits and vegetables directly to bulk consumers, organised retailers, hotels and exporters in Delhi after the centre unveiled a unique 'Kisan Mandi' platform, Sahara Samay reported.

The Kisan Mandi would boost farmers' income by eliminating middlemen.

With the capital's daily demand for fruits and vegetables at 15,000 tonnes, the Kisan Mandi would be set up in 1.6 acres at Alipur, providing an opportunity for small farmers to sell directly to both wholesale and retail consumers.

The new mandi, to be fully operational in next six months, would be different from Azadpur wholesale market as Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) and Growers Associations (GAs) would only keep their sample produce and arrange delivery directly from their collection centre to buyers, once ordered.

Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, who laid the foundation stone and soft-launched the platform, said the government was making efforts to strengthen farmers and the 'Kisan Mandi' was one such initiative in that direction.

He added this kind of mandi would benefit both farmers and consumers.

The soft launch saw about 20 tonnes of onions sold to Safal, the largest organised retailer of fruits and vegetables in Delhi and NCR region.

When fully operational, 30 to 40 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and grower associations would be able to display samples of their produce and after deals are done on the spot or online, the goods would be delivered to bulk buyers like hotels, resident welfare associations and big corporate retailers at their doorstep.

The Delhi government had earlier this month removed a key hurdle that prevented farmer organisations and corporates from setting up new wholesale fruit and vegetable markets in the city, paving the way for other states to follow suit and clear away trade restrictions under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts, without actually having to annul these laws.

Parvesh Sharma, managing director, Small Farmers' Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), told The Financial Express that through the market, farmers' realisation was expected to increase by 20 per  cent to 25 per cent, while consumers would be able to get the produce at a 15-20 per cent cheaper rate from the current level.

According to Sharma, depending on the response to the new agri-marketing initiative, more kisan mandis would be set up in Delhi, Sharma said.

Ashok Gulati, chair professor agriculture, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), said the kisan mandi would hopefully change the face of fruit and vegetable marketing in Delhi. He added, they could give better prices to farmers and still offer their produce at lower prices to consumers.