A “Safal”step has been augmented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in wake to expand its programme to ‘empower farmers’ as part to inculcate good farming practices through Mother Dairy’s Safal for considerably increase their income and provide them with access to national markets including the capital.
Safal is the horticulture brand of Mother Dairy, under the tutelage of NDDB, will double its outreach to 2000 farmers for procuring Fruits and Vegetables (F&V) in seven districts to ensure ‘fair value’ for their produce and give them a taste of organized markets in the country. NDDB has also approached the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for giving land in Bhubaneswar for Safal to set up a central distribution facility for collecting and marketing the farm produce in the most scientific and hygienic way.
Speaking on the occasion, Dilip Rath, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board, said, “We started small in 2015. Having seen the potential of the farmers and the produce, NDDB with strings of success over six decades is focusing on Odisha as part of “Look East” strategy for Mother Dairy. Our strategy is two-fold. While we scale to get the best of produce from Odisha to sell at our outlets nationwide, farmers are cornerstone for the success of our plans and NDDB will contribute with all its might to the national goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 declared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“As part of developing East, Mother Dairy has set up a food processing plant in Jharkhand while it is setting up a milk procurement and processing plant in Bihar. In Odisha also Mother Dairy would soon set up a milk processing plant. Now, the national capital will get to taste the sweet mangoes from Odisha in a big way with enhanced operations by Safal.It is Mother Dairy’s duty to ensure benefits to consumers of quality products from the state at the most reasonable prices while protecting the interest of farmers to create a win-win situation for both. Through this we think Mother Dairy will contribute to the national goal of doubling the farmers’ income, he added.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to the Central Government and in particular Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan for his initiatives to uplift farmers like giving opportunity to Safal to open marketing stores at the Petrol pumps of the national Oil companies. The farmers have created procurement organisations and NDDB will not only leverage from these but also help them create more such FPOs for the outreach programme.”
Elaborating on the strategy, Dr.Saugata Mitra, Director, Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd said, “Our aim is to strengthen our farmer connect to enhance F&V procurement from Odisha. Our interventions at the farm level have already started showing results and we now plan to enhance our farmer strength in larger interest of the farming community. We are aggressively pursuing to add 1000 more farmers to our network by the end of this fiscal, which will help us to strengthen on the procurement from the State. Because of the perishability of farm producer, the first priority is to evolve a local retail network and then for the national grid of sales outlets”.
Sincet 4 years, Safal has been procuring prime varieties of Mangoes such as Langra, Amrapali, Dushehry and Malika from the districts of Mayurbhanj and Dhenkenal through Farmer Organizations. Today, it has an established mango sourcing base in six districts and is also exploring the districts of Angul and Ganjam for increasing its sourcing base. Safal procures watermelon, brinjal, cucumber, okra, karela, onion, cabbage, leafy vegetables, etc. from six districts of Mayurbhanj, Dhenkenal, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Sambalpur and Deogarh.
“Safal also plans to double the procurement of mangoes from the state of Odisha this season to 150 tonnes,” Dr. Mitra said.
Since the beginning of Safal’s procurement network in Odisha, the Brand has conducted 18 sessions with farmers as part of its agronomic intervention initiatives. These sessions were held in the regions of Mayurbhanj, Dhenkenal, Kandhamal, Ganjam, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Jajpur and Angul.
The F&V retail initiative of Mother Dairy Fruit & Vegetable Pvt. Ltd. (NDDB’s wholly owned subsidiary) in collaboration with the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs)aims to serve the consumers with quality F&V produce at affordable prices and also provide market linkage to the F&V growers of Odisha.
At present, Safal has a collective strength of 17 F&V retail outlets in the state of Odisha (Bhubaneswar & Sambalpur).