In a prompt reply to the request of the state agriculture marketing department, eight districts’ authorities have so far extended their support by identifying plots to set up outlets of Sufal Bangla to let more people buy fresh vegetables and so that farmers get right price for their produce.
In July, the agriculture marketing department had written to all the District Magistrates seeking help in identifying places where state-run shops - Sufal Bangla - can be set up.
According to a senior official of the department, eight districts including Burdwan, Malda, Nadia, Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri and Bankura have written to the department stating that plots have been identified where outlets of Sufal Bangla can be set up. Plots at Siliguri have also been identified.
After Trinamool Congress government returned to the power for the second term, the agriculture marketing department had set a target of opening at least five outlets in each district. At present, there are around 30 outlets functional in Kolkata, Howrah, Hooghly and Birbhum.
Most of the outlets are in Kolkata and one or two in the rest three districts. Thus, letters were sent to District Magistrates of the three districts as well seeking their help to identify plots to set up more outlets.
It is learnt that the Birbhum district authorities have replied to the letter stating plots have been identified to develop more such facilities apart from one which is at Bolpur. Similar development would take place in Hooghly as well.
Most of the eight districts which have replied to the letter of the agriculture marketing department have managed to identify plots to set up two to three outlets initially though the target is to set up five. According to the official, at least one outlet would come up in each of the districts by March 2017.
“It is an ongoing process as we need to undertake survey to assess the potentiality of an area. We will assess whether the location is suitable for setting up an outlet. Whether it would be convenient for farmers and residents of the area to reach the outlets,” he said adding that survey work for some of the identified lands is going on while the construction work has started in some places.
There were some locations for which survey report had suggested that it would not be suitable to set up an outlet. Thus the district authorities have been urged once again to help in searching for a new plot.
The official said that at present in some outlets, the daily turnover is around Rs 50,000 while it is comparatively lesser in certain stalls. But the average sale per day is Rs 25,000. The daily turnover for the existing 30 Sufal Bangla outlets across the state is more than Rs 7.5 lakh per day.
Thus, with setting up of 30 more stalls, the turnover would jump up to around Rs 15 lakh per day, which would be a remarkable achievement for the project, the official said.
At the same time, more Farmers Producers’ organizations would form and it will help the farmers to increase their margin of profit.