Bihar shortlisted for setting up vegetable clusters

NEW DELHI: The Centre has shortlisted seven states, including Bihar and Gujarat, for setting up vegetable clusters to ensure the uninterrupted supply of products even in times of crisis.

The other states chosen for the establishment of clusters are Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, sources in the Agriculture Ministry said.

“The seven states have been shortlisted for review on account of their better performance (for setting up of veggie clusters) so far, compared to other states,” they said.

In his 2011-12 Budget speech, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced that vegetable clusters would be set up at an outlay of Rs 300 crore to cater to demand in urban areas during the 2011-12 financial year.

The scheme, called the National Vegetable Initiative (NVI), is a part of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and will cover all aspects related to vegetable production, from supply of planting material to production, marketing and retail.

The scheme is applicable across the country. The scheme was conceptualised in the backdrop of soaring prices of onions and other vegetables in end-December, 2010, and the early months of 2011. The government had received a lot of flak when the prices of onion soared to Rs 80-85 a kg at the time, with tomato and garlic prices following suit.

To keep a close watch over setting up of vegetable clusters in the seven states, the Agriculture Ministry has appointed as many Joint Secretaries as nodal officers, the sources added.

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