New Delhi: Small farmers will soon be able to sell fruits and vegetables directly to bulk consumers like organised retailers, hotels and exporters here after Centre today unveiled an unique 'Kisan Mandi' platform that aims to boost income by eliminating middlemen.

With Delhi's daily demand of fruits and vegetables being 15,000 tonnes, the Kisan Mandi -- to be set up in 1.6 acres at Alipur here -- provides an opportunity for small farmers to sell directly to both wholesale and retail consumers.

The new mandi, which would be fully operational in next six months, will be different from Azadpur wholesale market as Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs) and Growers Associations (GAs) will only keep their sample produce and deliver them directly from their collection centre to buyers once sold.

Farmers  Small farmers will soon be able to sell fruits and vegetables directly to bulk consumers 

Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who laid the foundation stone and soft launched the platform, said: "We are making efforts to strengthen farmers and the 'Kisan Mandi' is one such initiative towards this direction. This kind of mandi will benefit both farmers and consumers."

At the soft launch, about 20 tonnes of onions were sold to Safal, the largest organised retailer of fruits and vegetables in Delhi and NCR region. The Kisan Mandi is being set up for the benefit of those small farmers, who are members of FPOs and GAs, promoted by the government body Small Farmers' Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC).

Highlighting the features of the mandi, SFAC Managing Director Parvesh Sharma said, "This market will be different from Azadpur mandi. Here, FPOs will only keep their sample produce, which will be sold via auction and delivered directly from their collection centre to buyers." Organised retailers, hotels, restaurant, caterers, large vendors, exporters, processors and general public will benefit from the market, he added.

The mandi will have stalls allotted to each FPOs and GAs and other infrastructure facilities like warehousing and cold chain units, ensuring quality of the produce. Currently, there are over 300 FPOs in the country. SFAC aims to ensure participation of 25-30 FPOs and GAs in the Kisan Mandi during the first year.

To ensure better price to farmers, SFAC is promoting setting up of FPOs, which is typically a company consisting only small farmers and producers, but formed under the Indian Companies Act 1956 as amended in 2002.