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ASSOCHAM Prescriptions to Control Soaring Vegetable Prices
Our Bureau
Date of posting: 28-02-11
      The rising prces, especially for vegetables, has prompted ASSOCHAM to propose some measures to check the check the prices.

      While Delhi’s population has gone up from 8.5 million to over 18.5 milliion. an increase of 120% approx., the quantity of vegetable supply has gone up only 100%, whereas the prices of veggies have shot up virtually by 300%, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

      To check sky-high vegetable prices, Mr. D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM said the government should consider floating tenders for transportation of vegetables from farms to consumer centers, benchmark being the lowest rate and highest speed. This would also help break any cartelization among present set of intermediators.

      ASSOCHAM further states that it is not difficult to set up a market intelligence service that vegetable farmers can access easily. Also farmers should be encouraged if necessary through collective efforts to directly sell to NCR mandis setting up a competitive channel to existing chaotic chains. The extension services to vegetable farmers should be made priority for agricultural departments in the states around NCR. Railways should give priority for moving popular items like onions, tomatoes, potatoes and fruits.

      ASSOCHAM also mentioned the trading pattern that brings supplies from farms to consumer centres is fragmented with too many intermediators spoiling the broth. Also vegetables and fruits are perishable and require intelligent supply chains with a sizeable investment in cold chains, transportation and 24x7 market intelligence.

      The existing intermediators have limited interaction with the farmers and take up no responsibility in increasing production and reducing farm level costs or improve quality. Vegetable farming is largely a gamble and little science goes into it. Unless this situation is tackled mere raids at mandis will not solve the problem of rising vegetable and fruit prices.

      Transportation is another bottleneck likewise transporters, commission agents, wholesalers, retailers all act independently and each is interested only in maximizing his gain. The mandi system of auction is anti-farmer as beneficiaries are mostly the intermediators.

      Mr. Rawat further said that government must promote heavy investment in the building and operation of multiple, competing, intelligent supply chains over which market information must flow regularly to farmers. This would enable vegetable farming to move from subsidiary activity to mainstream activity in the agricultural lands around 100 to 200 km radius of the NCR.

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