The Centre is working on a proposal to set up ‘production hubs’ for cow milk, vegetables and other agri-produce near metro cities to boost supply, Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Thursday.
To start with, the agriculture ministry is in talks with the Delhi government as well as neighbouring states on this issue, he said.
“The government is working towards setting up production hubs near metros for milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, flowers and other such things as part of the online trading platform,” Singh said, addressing an Assocham event here. “The Chinese capital has population twice as much that of Delhi, but everything is available within a radius of 150 km, while in Delhi milk comes from Andhra Pradesh and vegetables from Kolkata,” a statement quoted him as saying.
The ministry has conducted three-four meetings in NCR to make Gurugram, formerly Gurgaon, a hub for flowers while Sonepat and Panipat will be made hub for vegetables and Karnal for indigenous cow milk.
The ministry is also in talks with the Uttar Pradesh government on this issue, he added.
On the newly launched electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM), the minister said farm produce worth Rs 3,841 crore has been traded so far in 250 wholesale markets linked to this platform.
In April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the e-NAM scheme in 21 mandis of eight states. The government has kept a total target of 585 by March 2018.
“We had started it on a pilot project basis and have tried to remove all the anomalies related to both hardware and software and it is now moving very fast towards empowering farmers to allow them to sell their produce,” Singh said.
On steps taken to improve e-NAM, the minister said laboratories are being set up in electronic wholesale markets to check quality of farm produce so that any trader or farmer can purchase or sell the same across India. “These facilities are already available within the states, but now we are working towards making it feasible inter-state and GST (goods and services tax) will play a significant role in this regard,” he said.
Singh further mentioned that the government will also work towards improving the mandi laws and try to establish them in the private sector by improving marketing laws. “We have made amendments in marketing-related laws in about 22 states and licences are being issued to set up mandis in the private sector,” he said.