West Bengal panchayats to sell self-help groups’ products in city stores

Brown rice, black rice, lentils, mushrooms, rice, fish, vegetables – most of them fresh and some refrigerated – sourced from farmers across West Bengal through self help groups will now be available in cities all over the state.
West Bengal department of panchayats & rural development has partnered with Sufal Bangla (retail outlets under the Paschim Banga Agri Marketing Corporation Limited) to generate revenues for self-help groups through the sale of agriculture and animal products. These products are being sold through 23 outlets in Kolkata since January 2020.
The products – being sold in Sufal Bangla outlets – include packaged products like machine polished rice, brown rice, black rice, lentils, mushrooms, fish and meat among others. In Kolkata and other cities, vegetables are being sold in mobile freezer storages and electric rickshaws (locally known a toto).

Sufal Bangla, a flagship initiative of the state government, aims to provide easy interaction between producers and sellers of agro-based products and their city based consumers, thus benefitting both buyers and sellers. It ensures that farmers and women running self-help groups get higher prices for their products. They cannot get such prices in their villages, where retail prices and demand are low. People from cities also have a huge demand for fresh and good quality products from villages.

Produces from 22 farms under the government programme across the state are being sold this way. Workers in over 250 self-help groups are being benefitted through this initiative. Of them, nearly 3,000 are women. The number of such mobile selling units will be increased in near future, officials said.
The main aim of the initiative is to increase revenue of village-based self-help groups in the state and also to generate more employment in villages, an official said.

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