Thane: Direct sale of oranges grown by Vidarbha farmers to the district residents sans any middlemen has evoked an encouraging response and is proving to be a profitable initiative for the farmers, officials said.
A counter selling the famed oranges, which was on Thursday put up at the Zila Parishad premises in Thane, turned out to be a huge draw on the day one, with a record sale of about 1.5 tonnes of the fruit.
Amol Pachade, Agriculture Expert, Maharashtra government, said: "It was decided in a review at the start of the year to open such centres in as many as 16 towns and cities of the state.
"The initiative is being jointly co-ordinated by the Coordinated Agriculture Improvement Project, Sir Ratan Tata Trust and International Agricultural Development Fund (IFAD) to support the farmers in six districts of Vidarbha", he said. Around 1,200 growers from 70 villages are participating in the project, he said.
In a similar sale in Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru last year, about 128 tonnes of the citrus fruit were sold and the farmers had earned a profit to the tune of Rs 13 lakh, he said. This kind of sale would help in avoiding distress sale by the farmers to the merchants who quote a very less price for the produce, he further said.
About 20 such counters would be opened in the district from Monday, the expert said. A target of sale of five tonnes of oranges has been set for the current season for each district and efforts are being made to achieve it, he added.
District Agri Products Marketing Manager Mohan Ghabbirao said, "Farmers are being trained on the methods to be adopted for better sale of their produce by Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University."
Ravindra Thakare, the project director with the Coordinated Agricultural Improvement Project, headquartered at Amravati, said, "the farmers have received overwhelming response from the districts they visited and there is full support from the local government offices."
Thane ZP CEO Uday Chaudhary has appealed to the citizens to support the project in the best possible way and help the crisis-ridden farmers of the region.