The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) has released new guidelines for short-term intervention now covering all fruits and vegetables under ‘Operation Greens’, as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat plan announced recently with a slew of measures in an economic stimulus package by Government of India. Operation Greens is a Central sector scheme and was announced initially for integrated development of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) value chain with a budgetary allocation of Rs 500 crore. The scheme has a two-pronged strategy of price stabilisation measures (for short-term) and integrated value chain development projects (for long-term). “However, due to restrictions imposed on account of Covid-19, the supply chain was disrupted and famers were not able to sell their produce in the market and the government had announced measures for revival of the economy affected severely due to Covid-19 pandemic. So as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Package, Operation Greens will be extended from Tomatoes, Onion and Potatoes (TOP) to ALL fruits and vegetables (TOTAL) having provisions of 50% subsidy on transportation from surplus production to deficient markets and 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storages,” said an official with the MoFPI. The new guidelines were approved after an inter-ministerial consultative meet last month. According to MoFPI, the guidelines have been envisaged for quick implementation of the scheme and to encourage evacuation of surplus production of fruits and vegetables from the production area to consumption centres for the six months to moderate and check glut and shortage. The covered fruits include mango, banana, guava, kiwi, lichi, papaya, citrus, pineapple, pomegranate and jackfruit while the vegetables covered include French beans, bitter gourd, brinjal, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, chillies (green), okra, onion, potato and tomato. The guidelines also say that any other fruit/vegetable can be added in future on the basis of recommendation by the Ministry of Agriculture or state government. The guidelines on Eligible Production Cluster say that the list of districts for each crop mentioned in Serial No. 7.5 of Horticulture Statistics at Glance 2018 published by Ministry of Agriculture (available at the website agricoop.nic.in) will be taken as eligible production clusters subject to meeting the criterion of essential conditions. Food Processors, FPO/FPC, co-operative societies, individual farmers, licensed commission agent, exporters, state marketing/co-operative federation, retailers and so on engaged in processing/ marketing of fruits and vegetables are eligible entities. Minimum quantity to be procured and transported/stored per applicant (may consist of one or more than notified crops) will be 100 MT for FPO/FPC, co-operative, individual farmers; 500 MT for food processor, exporter, licensed commission agent; and 1,000 MT for retailers, state marketing/co-operative federation, according to the MoFPI note.
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