Coimbatore: Soon, fresh vegetables straight out of farms will reach the doorsteps of Coimbatore residents. In a new initiative by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), mobile vans will go around the city and stop at specific spots in residential colonies where people can buy vegetables at nominal rates.
The department of horticulture, jointly with Lawrencedale Agroprocessing India Pvt Ltd (LEAF) plans to procure vegetables directly from farmers in the peripheral areas and sell them in residential areas through vans.
The public-private partnership module (PPP) to function under the Peri-Metro Vegetable Cluster Development Programme, is to be launched here in Coimbatore in a fortnight. "Under the new initiative, prices will be competitive as it cuts out the middleman, and farmers can reap better benefits as they get to fix the prices of vegetables. It will also enable people to buy vegetables at nominal rates," said Mr Balram Warrior, assistant general manager of Leaf.
The firm has kept on display one of its mobile vans with farm fresh vegetables at the three-day Horti Expo in the Codissia trade fair complex in Coimbatore. "Several farming groups will be formed to ensure that we get a bouquet of vegetables. Further, collection centres will also be put up to source vegetables directly from farmers. This cuts the farmers’ dependence on middlemen or the difficult task of bringing their vegetables all the way to sell at markets," he said.
Moreover, farmers will also be provided advice by experts to improve their produce and make a sustainable living out of agriculture. "Farmers will be educated on using quality seeds, soil, the kind of sprays that should be avoided and other intricacies of better farming. Once farmers get a steady market to sell their produce, farming could become a viable, long-time proposition for even the future generation," said Mr Warrior.
Around six mobile vans, each with a capacity to hold 2 tonnes of vegetables, will do the rounds in the city. "The vans will mostly visit residential areas in the morning and evening, when people take time to buy vegetables. Our market survey is in its final stage to identify stoppages for the vans. Vegetables will be sold at very competitive prices," he said.