BIHAR: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has exhorted the state’s farmers to serve up Har thali main Bihari tarkaari (vegetables produced in Bihar in each plate of food). The state’s co-operative department has launched an initiative ‘Tarkaari’ in which fresh vegetables are directly plucked from the fields by farmers and supplied to 3-tier marketing levels created by the department.
Primary Vegetable Co-operative Societies (PVCS) and upper levels of marketing have started giving good returns to the farmers. People living in urban and semi-urban areas no longer go to local markets or traditional haats to buy fresh supplies. Since many families have smartphones these days, even in rural areas, online orders are placed on www.tarkaarimart.in or tarkaarimandi.in and orders are delivered within 24 hours under an all-weather delivery arrangement put in place by the authorities.
The farmers are registered on the ‘Tarkaari app.’ “It is a god-send for us. We pluck vegetables and supply them to the PVCS. In two-three days, the money is credited to our accounts,” says Manohar Kumar, a vegetable grower in Patna.
The ‘Tarkaari’ branding initiative launched by the Bihar State Vegetable Processing and Marketing Federation Ltd drew a good response. The online platform has got more than 11,489 orders to supply to more than 214 metric tonnes of vegetables since it started individual and institutional deliveries. Launched in 2019, it has become a household name because of its transparency in trading and marketing. Sellers like Sitaram Singh, a retired officer at Patna, Niraj Kumar at Darbhanga and Sagar Kumar in Motihari say the brand helped them get fresh organic vegetables at doorsteps.
“During lockdown, the home delivery service of fresh sanitised vegetables in Patna became an instant hit among top government servants, teachers, doctors, businessmen and others.We placed orders online within 24 hours, supply baskets reached us,” says Alok Kumar, a retired teacher at Patliputra. He finds the rates cheaper than open retail markets and quality better.
The brand ‘Tarkaari’ was awarded the AgriBusiness Summit and Agri Award-2021 in Hyderabad on September 2. Bandana Preyashi, secretary of the state cooperative department, says many similar initiatives have been launched such as the Tarkaari Express for wider marketing of vegetables across the country. “Tarkaarimart is the e-commerce platform aimed at formalising the value chain by enabling the buying and selling of vegetables online. This way, farmers are able to bypass intermediaries and sell their produce directly to customers.”
Preyashi adds, “We have set up three unions starting from the PVCSs in 20 districts with 250 Primary Vegetable Cooperative Societies linking more than 15,000 farmers.” Riding over the demand and supply, a turnover of Rs 42 crore was achieved in the last one and a half years of the ‘Tarkaari’ scheme. Government hostels, hotels and other institutions are increasingly becoming fond of the scheme. “We networked with 2,500 vegetable collection centres this year and created ‘farm to market’ platforms.
This initiative moves through a 3-tier sustainable cooperative structure with farmers as members, unions that provide backward and forward linkages for the produces and the VegFed (Vegetable Federation) that does macro-level planning,” says Preyashi.
It has helped generate employment opportunities. In Bihar, almost all green vegetables are cultivated in over 9.8% of the state’s net cultivable land because of the fertile alluvial soil. “Tarkaari is an ambitious project of the state government that envisages necessary infrastructure for washing, sorting, grading, storing and creating retail outlets,” Preyashi says.
Anand Sharma, the Managing Director of VegFed, says that vegetable growing farmers who are registered with the ‘Tarkaari app’, have been given geotags through which officials can see the status of their fields and produces.
Popular & transparent
‘Tarkaari’ has become a household name because of its transparency in trading and marketing. The online platform has got about 11.5K orders of more than 214 metric tonnes of vegetables from the time it started individual and institutional deliveries in the last year and-a-half after the launch. During the lockdown, the home delivery of fresh vegetables became a necessary service for the public. The platform placed orders online and within 24 hours. ‘Tarkaari’ was awarded the AgriBusiness Summit and Agri Award-2021 in Hyderabad on September 2. Other such initiatives are launched such as Tarkaari Express for wider marketing of vegetables across the country.
People in many urban and semi-urban areas of the state no longer go to local markets for vegetables. They get their supplies through online services. Farmers are also happy with the returns, finds out Rajesh Kumar Thakur