The Centre’s move to increase the scope of Operation Greens Scheme (OGS) will act as a catalyst for exports of agri-perishables from the Northeast and four Himalayan states and Union Territories with the programme bringing in 22 more perishable agri-produces under its ambit. OGS is currently applicable to tomatoes, onions and potatoes (TOPs). The Ministry of Food Processing and Industries provides 50% subsidy through NAFED to its empaneled agencies for the transportation of TOPs from farm gate to its identified storage, following price fall of the produce below three years’ average market price at the time of harvest.
Piyush Shrivastava, senior economic advisor to the ministry of aviation, said increasing the scope of OGS had called for its alliance with Krishi Uddan scheme (KDS). Under OGS, the added perishable items will get air freight subsidy of 50%. This will act as a catalyst for KDS through improvement of air cargo transportation from NE states.
Fruits and vegetables produced in NE states generally meet the food safety standard norms and, therefore, has high export potential.
Jaideep Raha, chairman of Air Cargo Agents Association of India (Eastern India), said although there were challenges in terms of destination compliance, incentive structure for farmers to use air cargo would boost export of agri-produces from the Northeast with Guwahati functioning as a major transhipment hub. Around 400 tonne of perishable produces from the Northeast can be transported from Guwahati to London via Delhi.
At a CII East session, Shrivastava said with changing business models, like just-in-time manufacturing, deliveries had to be made faster because product life cycles have shortened. This has also created an appropriate ecosystem to export agri-produces from India since air cargo logistics business has become integral to outsourcing models. A significant chunk of air cargo are now being handled through passenger terminals, he said, adding India handled 25.03 lakh tonne of air cargo in FY 21, though mostly medical items.