Construction of Market Yards
Taking into consideration the need to develop the markets all over the State, the Board is undertaking State level planning and execution of construction work of market yards to create infrastructural facilities like- shop-cum-godowns, auction platform, farmer’s rest houses, internal roads, compound wall, drinking water facilities, canteen banking facilities etc. The efforts are being made to provide marketing facilities to the growers near to their farms.
Modernization and expansion of existing market yards
The most of the principal market yards/sub yards constructed by the Board/Market Committees lack the modern marketing facilities and are congested. There is an urgent need to expand the handling capacity and provide modern marketing facilities. The H.P. State Agricultural Marketing Board has already taken initiative to expand and modernize the different marketing yards in the state. The Principal Market yards, Dhalli (Shimla) is being taken up in the first phase.
Construction of Link Roads
In the absence of proper roads, farmers are compelled to sell their produce to local traders or they have to carry it to road heads on head or by mules, which substantially increases the marketing cost. To overcome this obstacle, the Board is constructing link roads so that farmer could bring their produce to the market throughout the year under all weather conditions.
Construction of Ropeways
Due to difficult terrain the construction of road is very difficult and more expensive in hilly areas. The Board is constructing ropeways to link these areas to road head. The ropeways require less time and money to install. There is proposal for taking up this activity on large scale as there is lot of scope of this activity in hilly areas of H.P.
Strengthening of farmer through Market Information
To establish a nation-wide information network for speedy collection and dissemination of market information and data for its efficient and timely utilization & to facilitate collection and dissemination of information related to better price realization by the farmers, ministry of Agriculture Govt. of India , has launched the ICT based Central Sector Scheme of Agricultural Marketing Information Network (AGMARKNET). Market information is needed by farmers in planning production and marketing, and equally needed by other market participants in arriving at optimal trading decisions. The existence and dissemination of complete and accurate marketing information is the key to achieve both operational and pricing efficiency in the marketing system. Advancement in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has made the world a smaller place and a larger market at one go. On AGMARKNET portal (http://agmarknet.nic.in) over 300 plus markets are regularly reporting price related which is being disseminated through the portal. 14 nodes of Himachal Pradesh are also sending the data to this portal. Any farmer/ orchadist can access the rates of their produce in the markets of the country by only clicking on this website.
The AGMARKNET portal also serves as a single window for accessing websites of various organizations concerned with agricultural marketing. It provides weekly trend analysis for important markets in respect of major commodities. It is also linked with Online Commodity Exchange of India Limited, providing futures prices in respect of oilseeds, fiber crops etc. International price-trends of various agricultural commodities available on FAO website are also accessible through the portal. The portal is constantly being enriched. In order to facilitate market access of farm produce to larger markets, the proposed scheme will additionally provide information on market requirements in terms of quality, packing, standards, sanitary and phyto-sanitary conditions, etc.
The scope of data collection and dissemination will be enlarged to provide farmers information regarding pack-size, packaging material and marketing charges in a market where goods are to be delivered, facilities available to farmers in a buying market, re-handling of the produce, if necessary, in the destination market to suit the requirements of the market buyers and rules and regulations of the destination market, if located outside the State. Promotion of nationally and internationally acceptable standards of grading and standardization, packaging and labeling, storage and warehousing and sanitary and phyto-sanitary requirements and quality certification in farm sector will enable trade and processing sector to undertake large scale agricultural marketing operations in domestic as well as international markets.
The information relating to the schemes in respect of agricultural marketing implemented by Government Departments and central agencies viz. Commerce, Food and Public Distribution, Consumer Affairs, Health and CCI, JCI, NCDC, NAFED, NTGF, TRIFED, NCCF, NDDB, NHB, APEDA, MPEDA will also be disseminated in user-friendly manner. An e-directory of AGMARKNET nodes will be published over the portal to facilitate effective and timely exchange of information among markets and other users. Once the farm produce is standardized and labeled, backed by quality certification, it can be directly offered for sale on web site in national and international markets.
Construction of Collection Centers
Due to hilly terrain, the producing areas are scattered in small units. Generally the means of transport are not readily and easily available in such areas. Farmers bring their produce to the roadside and keep on waiting for the transport and traders. Since there is no facility for the protection of agricultural produce, it remains open to vagaries of weather, theft etc. To save the farmer from such losses, a scheme to construct collection centers at strategic points has been started.
Farmer ’s awareness Camps
Farmers are not getting adequate yields and returns in relation to their hard work due to in adequate knowledge about post harvest handling and marketing. Thus, farmer’s awareness camps are being organized to make them aware of post harvest management, agricultural marketing, market regulation etc. Each training camp comprises of 100 farmers. The officials of H.P. Marketing Board, Market Committees, Agriculture and Horticulture departments Agriculture/ Horticulture University etc. also participate in these camps as resource personnel.
Farmer Exposure Visits
Agricultural universities and related institutes throughout the country are constantly developing improved and scientific techniques of post harvest management. By and large, the farmers in the adjoining areas of these institutes/ organizations are availing these opportunities. Not only their crop yield has increased but their income has also increased significantly. But the located at distant places are mot able to reap the benefits of technology advancement. Therefore, it is necessary to expose these farmers to such technology advancement by taking them to such centers of excellence. Keeping in view these facts, Board has started organizing Farmers Exposure visits with the help of National Horticulture Board.
Distribution of Plastic crates
Fruits and Vegetables are highly perishable in nature. The post harvest losses to fruits and vegetables are estimated to the extent of 8 to 37%. Use of improper packaging material is one of the reasons for these losses. In general bamboo baskets, gunny bags or wooden boxes are used for packaging, which not only affects the quality of the produce adversely, but also puts pressure on the forest. It is, therefore, necessary to encourage farmers to adopt new packaging material. Keeping in view these facts, plastic crates are distributed among farmers on subsidized rates with the help of National Horticulture Board. These crates are light in weight occupy less space, sturdy, durable and smooth surface. These can be used for collecting, grading and for temporary storage.
Market News Service
Market news helps the farmers to take decisions about when and how much of a commodity to produce, when and where to sell it etc. Mostly the farmers in the state are poor with meager no resources and are not aware of market information. They have to depend upon local traders, commission agents etc. for market information who purchase their produce for below the prevailing market rates. In order to avoid the exploitation of farmers, daily market rates of 24 agricultural commodities prevailing in 10 markets of the state are being collected by the market committees and are being broadcasted through AIR, Shimla/ Doordarshan.