Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh government would soon set up 2,535 Multipurpose Facilitation Centres with a 22-lakh metric tonne storage capacity at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore, in two phases, for farmers to store their produce and sell it whenever they get remunerative price.
Each MFC will have a godown to store farm produce, a shop for fertilizer/pesticide sale, a stock point for essential commodities of the public distribution system, a room for staff members and a drying yard attached to it. This will be affiliated to a Rythu Bharosa Kendram.
The MFC will be equipped with a primary processing facility, cleaning equipment, a destoner machine and grading equipment to enable farmers take up primary processing of their farm produce and grade it to help them sell this for a better price.
A godown of 500 metric tonne capacity will come up on nearly 3,000 square feet area and one with 1,000 MT capacity will come up on a 6,000 square feet area in each MFC.
In phase-1, work on as many as 1,255 MFCs with seven lakh metric tonne storage capacity at a cost of Rs 500 crore will be taken up. Bids were called for taking this up in 19 packages and these will be finalized soon.
In phase-II, work on nearly 1,280 MFCs with 15 lakh MT storage capacity at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore will be taken up.
The aim is to set up MFCs in all the 10,000 villages in the state in a phased manner.
The funds for the centrally sponsored scheme would be raised from the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund through NABARD and APCOB.
Based on the direction from chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy, the marketing authorities are acquiring government lands of the size of half-an-acre or an acre based on availability to set up an MFC, drying yard and other facilities like RBK in the same premises.
The land acquisition was completed to the extent of 56 per cent for the Phase-I works in the state. However, the East Godavari district registered a poor show, achieving only nine per cent of the target in land acquisition for setting up the MFCs.
The state government is yet to decide on collection of user charges from the farmers, who are the members of primary agriculture cooperative societies, for availing the facilities at the MFCs. This is needed because the loan raised to set them up is to be re-paid.
The marketing authorities will keep a tab on marketing the farm produce and ensuring quality and availing the project management consultancy for execution of the project.
Agriculture marketing superintending engineer Srinivas said, “As we opened bids for 19 packages we called for in the Phase-I, we got a response for 16 packages. We will call for bids again for the remaining packages. We are expecting to start works on MFCs from Sept. 15.”
“These MFCs help farmers to store their farm produce like paddy securely and sell them whenever they get good price in the market instead of selling it at throwaway price and incur loss,” he added.