Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution
Government implemented ‘Operation Greens’ for integrated development of Tomato-Onion-Potato (TOP) value chain since 2018-19
About Operation Greens
In the budget speech of Union Budget 2018-19, a new Scheme “Operation Greens” was announced on the line of “Operation Flood”, with an outlay of Rs.500 crore to promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs #), agri-logistics, processing facilities and professional management. Accordingly, the Ministry has formulated a scheme for integrated development of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) value chain. NAFED is the Nodal Agency to implement price stabilisation measures.
What is Operation Greens?
- Operation Greens is a scheme to fix the right prices for farmers’ produce.
- It aims to ensure that farmers are given the right price for the resource created by them.
- The program focuses on organized marketing of TOP vegetables i.e. Tomatoes, Onions, and Potatoes by connecting the farmers with consumers.
- Through Operation Greens government plans to provide financial assistance to Farmer Producer Organizations, State Agriculture and other Marketing Federations, cooperatives, companies, food processors, Self-help groups, etc.
- The E-NAM platforms* will be connected to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee* so as to help in the structural and infrastructure part of Operation Greens scheme.
- The government has also decoded help in the development of 22,000 agricultural markets under this scheme.
- Agricultural Produce Market Committee – APMC is a statutory market committee constituted by a State Government in respect of trade in certain notified agricultural or livestock or horticultural products, under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act.
- The e-National Agriculture Market (E-NAM) is an important initiative of the Government of India to use electronic trading portal pan-India for bidding and network the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
- Enhancing value realisation of TOP farmers by targeted interventions to strengthen TOP production clusters and their FPOs, and linking/connecting them with the market.
- Price stabilisation for producers and consumers by proper production planning in the TOP clusters and introduction of dual use varieties.
- Reduction in post-harvest losses by creation of farm gate infrastructure, development of suitable agro-logistics, creation of appropriate storage capacity linking consumption centres.
- Increase in food processing capacities and value addition in TOP value chain with firm linkages with production clusters.
- Setting up of a market intelligence network to collect and collate real time data on demand and supply and price of TOP crops.
The scheme will have two-pronged strategy ofPrice stabilisation measures (for short term) and Integrated value chain development projects (for long term).
I. Short term Price Stabilisation Measures
NAFED will be the Nodal Agency to implement price stabilisation measures. MoFPI will provide 50% of the subsidy on the following two components:
- Transportation of Tomato Onion Potato(TOP) Crops from production to storage;
- Hiring of appropriate storage facilities for TOP Crops;
Market Intelligence and Early Warning System
MIEWS Dashboard and Portal is a platform for monitoring prices of tomato, onion and potato (TOP) and for generating alerts for intervention under the terms of the Operation Greens scheme. The portal would disseminate all relevant information related to TOP crops such as Prices and Arrivals, Area, Yield and Production, Imports and Exports, Crop Calendars, Crop Agronomy, etc in an easy to use visual format.
II. Long Term Integrated value chain development projects
- Formation and Capacity Building of FPOs
- Quality Production
- Post-harvest processing facilities – At Farm Level
- Post-harvest processing facilities – At Main Processing Site
- Marketing/Consumption Points
Pattern of Assistance
The pattern of assistance will comprise of grants-in-aid at the rate of 50% of the eligible project cost in all areas, subject to maximum Rs. 50 crores per project. However, in case where PIA is/are FPO(s), the grant-in-aid will be at the rate of 70% of the eligible project cost in all areas, subject to maximum Rs. 50 crores per project.
Eligible Organisation would include State Agriculture and other Marketing Federations, Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO), cooperatives, companies, Self-help groups, food processors, logistic operators, service providers, supply chain operators, retail and wholesale chains and central and state governments and their entities/organizations will be eligible to participate in the programme and to avail financial assistance.
Why Operation Greens?
- The scheme is launched on the lines of Operation Flood and seeks to replicate the success of milk in fruits and vegetables.
- Idea behind Operation Greens is to double the income of farmers by the end of 2022.
- The problem with vegetable commodities is that when their production increases sharply, their prices collapse because there is not enough modern storage capacity.
- The links between processing and organized retailing are very weak and small in India which often result in farmer receiving less than 1/4th of what consumers pay for their produce in major cities.
- Operation Greens will focus on these problems for basic ingredients and not on additional commodities in agriculture.
Challenges in Implementation
- There are so many varieties of TOP vegetables, grown in different climatic conditions and in different seasons, making marketing intervention (processing and storage) all the more complex, unlike in milk that is a relatively homogenous product produced round the year.
- Viable technology options for long-term storage, transport, and processing are still being developed.
- Energy intensity of available technologies, especially with rising fuel prices, poses additional challenge.
- Organized market at present is very small in relation to total production. The market has to be developed through a viable business model which is both time and cost consuming.
- The scheme has no provision for institutional setup in implementing the scheme like the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in Operation Flood.
Lessons from operation flood
- First and foremost is that results are not going to come in three to four years.
- OF lasted for almost 20 years before milk value chains were put on the track of efficiency and inclusiveness.
- There has to be a separate board to strategise and implement the OG scheme, more on the lines of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) for milk.
- Second, we need a champion like Verghese Kurien to head this new board of OG.
- The MoFPI can have its evaluation every six months, but making MoFPI the nodal agency for implementing OG with faceless leaders is not very promising.
- Third, the criteria for choosing clusters for TOP crops under OG is not very transparent and clear.
- The reason is while some important districts have been left out from the list of clusters, less important ones have been included.
- What is needed is quantifiable and transparent criteria for the selection of commodity clusters, keeping politics away.
- Fourth, the subsidy scheme will have to be made innovative with new generation entrepreneurs, startups and FPOs.
- The announcement to create an additional 10,000 FPOs along with the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and the new farm laws are all promising but need to be implemented fast.
- There is a need to link major consumption centre to major production centre with a minimal number of intermediaries.
- Linking the processing industry with organized retailing. On an average, about one-fourth of the produce must be processed. Budget announcement of increasing the allocation for the food processing industry by 100% is a welcome step in this regard.
- By developing forward and backward linkages, the government can ease large price fluctuations, raise farmers’ share in the price paid by the consumer and at the same time, ensure lower prices for the consumers — a win-win situation for all.