Express news service
CHENNAI: Chennaites may soon get fresh vegetables from the farm with a “Modern Agricultural Marketing Center” project being established in Kolathur, which falls under the Chennai Corporation. But traders are hoping the government will also set up a mega market on the outskirts of town that can sell fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, dairy and flowers under one roof.
Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister MRK Panneerselvam, who presented the state’s first agricultural budget, said the center will be set up to ensure fresh farm vegetables reach residents from Chennai.
The center, which will be set up at a cost of Rs 1 crore by the state government, will house shops selling agricultural produce, produce from farmer organizations, organic produce, as well as a facility for solar-powered cold storage.
Through this center, products will be sold to consumers at fair prices, which will pave the way for consumers and farmers to mutually benefit.
AM Vikramaraja, President of Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalain Peramaippu, a trade union, said The new Indian express that the center will have no impact on trade at the Koyambedu wholesale market. Instead, he said there was a need for such a market as the demand for fruits and vegetables is high in the city, which has a population of over one crore.
Vikaramaraja says that with other traders, he recently held a meeting with officials and suggested that they build the city’s largest fresh produce market to sell fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and flowers under one roof.
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“In Chennai, such a facility is lacking and we have suggested two to three locations,” Vikramaraja explains.
This market could have multiple storage cold rooms, tropical fruit ripening chambers, meat processing, food processing, ice chamber, wholesale market, retail market, flower market and a farmers market.
The request follows news that a state-of-the-art 500-acre food park, modeled on the world’s largest fresh produce market in Rungis, France, is expected to emerge on the outskirts of Chennai. Indo-French joint venture GSE Avigna has signed a memorandum of understanding with the state government to invest 2,000 crore rupees in the mega food park.
Meanwhile, following the success of selling farm-fresh vegetables to consumers at their doorsteps during the May 2021 lockdown, the government is now planning to launch a pilot project at five companies.
The agriculture minister announced that he would introduce 30 mobile vegetable shops, which will be operated in five companies – Chennai, Trichy, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruppur.
A subsidy of 40 percent or Rs 2 lakhs – whichever is less – will be provided to rural youth who enter agriculture to purchase these vehicles.
For this, an amount of Rs 60 lakh will be allocated from the Tamil Nadu State Agricultural Marketing Board fund. The selling price of fruits and vegetables sold in these mobile shops will be fixed on the basis of the prices charged in the nearest Uzhavar Sandhai.