During the Union budget for the financial year, 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that Operation Green (OG) scheme will now expand beyond tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOP). It now covers 22 perishables (i.e., all fruits & vegetables (TOTAL)), including shrimp as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) launched Operation Green scheme on the line of “Operation Flood” with an outlay of Rs.500 crore in November 2018 for integrated development of the Tomato, Onion, and Potato (TOP) value chain.
- to promote agri-logistics, Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), processing facilities, professional management, etc., in identified production clusters.
- to increase food processing capacities, value addition in the TOP value chain
- to improve good linkages with production clusters.
- to protect the growers of vegetables and fruits from making distress sales due to lockdown.
- to set up a market intelligence network to collate and collect real-time data on the demand, supply, and price of TOP crops.
- to build efficient value chains to value-added products and to give a larger share of the consumer’s rupee to the farmers.
- to enhance the value realization of TOP farmers by targeted interventions to strengthen TOP production clusters and connect them with the market.
- to reduce post-harvest losses by constructing cold storage and modern warehouses wherever needed.
- to development of suitable agro-logistics, create farm gate infrastructure, and appropriate storage capacity linking consumption centers.
- price stabilization for producers and consumers by proper production planning in the TOP clusters.
Short term Price stabilization measures:
National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED)
NAFED will be the Nodal Agency to implement price stabilization measures. MoFPI will provide 50% of the subsidy for:
a. the transportation of eligible crops right from their production to storage, and
b. for the hiring of appropriate storage facilities for eligible crops.
Long term integrated value chain development projects:
- Quality Production
- Post-harvest processing facilities @ Farm Level
- Post-harvest processing facilities @ Main Processing Site
- Formation and Capacity Building of FPOs
Market Intelligence and Early Warning System
MIEWS Dashboard and Portal is a platform for monitoring the prices of tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOP) and generating alerts for intervention under the terms of the Operation Greens scheme. MIEWS portal would provide all the relevant information related to TOP crops, such as prices, yield, production, crop calendars, arrivals, area, crop agronomy, imports, exports, etc., in an easy-to-use visual format.
- Operation Green will be challenging because each commodity under Operation Green will have its specificity, production, and consumption cycle.
- Success is a time-taking process, and the result of the scheme is not going to come in three to four years.
- We need a dynamic leader like Verghese Kurien to head this new board of Operation Green.
- The criterion for choosing clusters for TOP crops under Operation Green is not very clear and transparent.
Need of the hour
- We need a transparent and quantifiable criterion for the selection of commodity clusters.
- There should be no politics during the decision-making process and selection process.
- The subsidy scheme will have to be made innovative with startups, new generation entrepreneurs, and FPOs.
- The establishment of additional 10,000 FPOs, the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, and the creation of new farm laws should get implemented as soon as possible.