The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) is all set to roll out its first farmer facilitation centre (FFC) for farmer producer companies (FPCs) in Maharashtra in the first week of January 2021.
The facility is part of the initiative of NAFED to establish e-Kisan Mandis that would use the online model to attract buyers and the offline model for physical delivery of commodities. NAFED has provided the land for a facility at Vashi which will bring farmer producer companies across the state together offering cleaning, sorting, grading, cleaning facilities and cooling facilities for all the FPCs under one roof.
The objective is to create farmer clusters across the state specialising in agri-commodities like cucumber, carrots, brinjals and then source these vegetables from the groups on the basis of pre-booked orders from customers. Vegetables will be brought here only through advance bookings through the call centre.
The FPC has established 52 clusters for various commodities and more than 750 farmers are part of this initiative. A call centre is now functional at Vashi, which has a database of some 3000 customers. The orders will be taken on phone by the customer care executives and sent to the respective FPC cluster for processing for the next morning. The rates will be declared 12 hours before the actual delivery to the customer on the basis of benchmark prices in the market.
This will also reduce the price spread between the primary producer and the ultimate consumer in addition to making available products of farm origin to consumers at a reasonable price without impairing the quality of produce. If this concept works in Maharashtra, especially since it is located in Vashi where the country’s largest APMC is located, the model can be replicated in other states. Vashi APMC is the country’s richest APMC with an annual turnover of Rs 20,000 crore.
NAFED has been designated as one of the implementing agencies for formation and promotion of 10,000 FPOs programme of the ministry of agriculture and farmers welfare. NAFED will create markets in partnership with the FPOs under the brand of NAFED e-Kisan Mandi (NeKM), which will be connected to the national digital marketing platform being created by NAFED.