Soon, hoteliers to be able to source greens from state


 Hoteliers in the state's coastal tourism belt may soon find it easier to source vegetables and fruits from within the state itself if a project started by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in Goa takes wing. Most of the vegetables and fruits consumed by the hotel industry in Goa are currently brought from neighbouringcentres like Belgaum by wholesalers and suppliers.
Which means Goan farmers don't benefit much from the tourism industry, according to S D Kulkarni, general manager of NABARD in Goa. As the bank in-charge in Goa for disbursing credit to farmers and agriculturalists, Kulkarni has first-hand experience of local conditions. Sensing an opportunity, he along with others decided to step in with a novel, internet-based project to bring about an interface between the farmers and hoteliers.
Although still in the testing stage, the website, will have a list of all the farmers registered with the 80-odd farmers clubs spread across the state. "We thought marketing was the biggest problem. So we have brought the farmers together in the farmers clubs, and formed farmers federations in Goa, one in the north and another in the south," he said. "If we have a website with the list of farmers, then the hoteliers can choose what they want to buy. Hoteliers can call them and get all their requirements."
He says that though there are a lot of farmers producing vegetables and fruits, marketing is a major hurdle because of the small quantities produced by the farmers. But if they get together and sell their produce through a common platform, then this problem is solved. "We can arrange for them to drop of their produce at certain collection centres and transport the produce to the respective hotels," he says, pointing out that they have a lot of finance and credit schemes which the farmers can use.
A series of meeting with hoteliers are being planned through the various coastal village panchayats to create awareness about the project amongst hoteliers, he said.  [TOI]