Maharashtra mulls solar-based power supply to cold storage at subsidised rate

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Maharashtra government, in a bid to ensure legitimate market price to the farmers for perishable commodities, is actively considering a slew of steps including solar-based power supply at subsidised rate to cold storage, development of post-harvest infrastructure and food supply chain, availability of modern technology, guarantee for loan and sharing interest burden. In addition, the government proposes to encourage more and more private sector participation in the establishment of storage, processing facilities and also in the creation of fruit and vegetable supply chain for the availability of quality produce which will benefit both the producers and the consumers.

The state cabinet will take a final decision after it receives report from a high level committee headed by the executive director of Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board.

The committee, which was constituted in April, is expected to submit its report by the end of October. The committee has held meetings at Pune and Nashik, and it will visit Amravati, Solapur, Marathwada and Konkan to hold deliberations with various stake holders before submitting its recommendations to the government.

Officer from the state agriculture department told DNA, “Maharashtra is the largest producer of fruits in India, and it is the leading vegetable producing state as well. However, 40 per cent vegetables and 30 per cent fruits are wasted due to lack of post-harvesting and marketing infrastructure. The government will strengthen the processing and handling infrastructure by providing physical and fiscal incentives.”

Pasha Patel as the chairman of the State Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices said the government will have to take a holistic policy on this matter.

“There is a need to change variety of crops, introduce new technology, set up processing and cold storage at par with global standard, and the availability of funding at an attractive rates. This will help achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s mission to double the agricultural income,” Patel, a member of the committee, said.

Another officer from the state agriculture department said the government will also lay emphasis on putting in place demand forecasting mechanism to reduce imbalance between demand and supply. Besides, customised logistics and transport facilities will help curb cost and turn the delivery of fruits and vegetables time bound.

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