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TN Govt approves supply chain mgmt scheme to benefit farmers directly
New Delhi | November 2018
The Government of Tamil Nadu has approved a supply chain management scheme in the state that aims to directly benefit the farmers without any agent or middleman. 
The scheme, a first of its kind in India, has been sent to the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for its nod. It is likely to see the proposal through an internal assessment. The scheme includes setting up warehouse infrastructure, primary processing centres (PPCs) and cold storage. 
A note presented by the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business of Tamil Nadu has stated that in 10 districts of the southern state, namely Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore, The Nilgiris, Tiruchirappalli, Dindigul, Theni, Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli, and at a total cost of Rs 398.7542 crore, the project will be implemented on a hub and spoke model, wherein Rs 378.8165 crore will be given by way of term loans from the NABARD Warehouse Infrastructure Fund and the state government’s contribution will be Rs 19.9377 crore. 
“The Tamil Nadu government wants the scheme to be implemented through farmer producer organisations (FPOs) to be set up in each district identified. Under this scheme, it aims at setting up warehouse infrastructure, primary processing centres having advanced machinery for the processing of vegetables and fruits like bananas and cold storage units,” said an official with the state agriculture marketing department. 
“Once the scheme gets grounding, the whole set-up shall be handed over to the farmers to run the operations,” he added. 
The official stated that this scheme had been devised to fetch good remunerative prices to farmers for their produce. Further, the strengthened supply lines will help in the timely transportation of fresh fruits, vegetables and other perishables to the consumer.
He added, “We expect this scheme will be grounded by March next year.” 
This project will aggregate produce of farmers at 487 collection points, processing at 58 PPCs and providing logistics support, including transport and storage, to take the produce to terminal markets. 
Post-harvest infrastructure like pack houses, cold storage, irradiation plant, individually quick-freezing (IQF), grading and packing facilities, storage godowns, e-auction, shops, processing lines, hot water/vapour heat treatment plant, farmers’ training centres, etc. will be created in the PPCs.
“Backward linkages to ensure uninterrupted supply of horticultural commodities to the PPCs and forward linkages are to be established to fetch long-term returns and sustain the project,” said the note. 
The official stated that National Institution for Transforming India (NITI-Aayog) has also been approached for technical facilitation for the implementation of the scheme. 
He added that NITI Aayog has selected the supply chain management project of Tamil Nadu under Development Support Services to States for Infrastructure projects (D3S-i).
Further, Coimbatore and Krishnagiri districts have been selected for implementation of the project on public-private partnership (PPP) mode to enable investors to invest on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis.
Civil works in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri PPCs are complete and they are nearing completion in other districts. After the completion of civil works, machinery would be installed in the PPCs. 
The agri-business model are developed for the operationalisation of the PPCs, which will be operated by either FPOs, private players or on PPP mode, according to the locations.
However, a senior functionary of NABARD’s Tamil Nadu office told that the matter was in the preliminary stage, and NABARD will have to study the feasibility of the scheme in its meeting of the financial committee which approves such schemes.
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