In order to provide better market access to the farmers in the State, Maharashtra government is planning to replicate one of the successful fruits and vegetables retail model, Safal. Safal, a retail chain under one of country’s leading milk and milk products brand Mother Dairy, procures fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers and supplies to the consumers through its own outlets across the National Capital Region of Delhi.
The officials in the State are currently studying different models of retail stores including Safal outlets, Dubai’s Gulf Food among others to set up such facilities.
"We have been visiting different places over the past two months in order study how the farmers can get better price and market for their produce. We are impressed with the way Safal stores operate here and we would want to have similar outlets in the State," Chandrakant Patil, Cooperative Minister of Maharashtra said while interacting to reporters in New Delhi.
For this, Maharashtra Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the parent organisation of Mother Dairy, National Diary Development Board (NDDB).
The Minister also visited the Safal’s distribution and processing unit in Mangolpuri in Delhi.
"Maharashtra produces fruits and vegetables in large quantities. However, the state does not have adequate means under which the farmers can sell their products directly to consumers, which can also ensure them better rates”, the Minister added.
"The State may not set up such stores, but can encourage farmer cooperatives to do so or ask companies set up by farmers to undertake this initiative. Say 10-25 such farmer companies can set up such stores in different parts of the State," Patil said.
He also discussed a proposal with Safal for selling cashew nuts grown in the Konkan belt of Maharashtra to be sold through its stores.
"Only one-fourth of the total cashew nuts grown in Konkan are processed in the State. The rest goes to Kerala as raw material. If we get better market, then this can be processed in the district and taluka level.
"We have given them this offer. They have now asked us to give a formal proposal," Patil further added.