To help vegetable farmers get better prices for their produce, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) would set up tomato and peas processing plant in Jharkhand within the next one year.
Anand (Gujarat)-based NDDB plans to involve at least 50,000 farmers in procurement and processing of peas and tomato in Jharkhand while Safal, its marketing arm, would sell these processed vegetables in the market. The board will invest around R70 crore for this processing plant.
“Often vegetable farmers in Jharkhand go for distress sale in the absence of marketing efforts. We would be helping farmers in producing quality tomatoes and peas for processing purpose,” T Nanda Kumar, chairman, NDDB, told FE. Kumar said during next few months, NDDB through Safal would educate farmers about the quality of tomato to be grown which could help in processing and creating products like ketchup, puree, pulp, etc. Safal is the fruit and vegetable business initiative of Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt Ltd, a company owned by NDDB.
Jharkhand is the third biggest producer of peas amongst the states while the eastern state is sixth largest producers of tomato in the country. By setting up of the vegetables processing plant, the apex body of dairy cooperative is trying to expand its base in processing and marketing of vegetables across the country.
Last year, NDDB had taken up management of Jharkhand State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation Limited, which sells milk under Medha brand for five years. The NDDB would soon commission one lakh litre milk processing plant in Ranchi as more and more farmers are joining the state milk federation because of increase in price realisation.
“More than 20,000 farmers would be getting higher remunerative price at around R27-R28 per litre against R16-R17 per litre they used to get when private players used to procure milk from them,” Kumar said. The board has set up milk storage plant at 370 villages, where about farmers from around 600 villages brining in their milk daily for purchase by the state milk federation.
NDDB has also initiated work to support and bring in professional expertise to Assam and Uttarakhand state milk marketing federations.