1. Maharashtra is a leading producer of fruits, vegetables and flowers. The production of fruits in Maharashtra stood at 100.54 Lakh MT and that of vegetables at 77.29 Lakh MT in the year 2008-09. The state has strength in production of grapes, mangoes, banana, pomegranate, oranges, tomato, and onion. Though the production of these fruits and vegetables has increased many folds, poor post harvest practices are followed leading to substantial loss in value of these commodities.
2. Similarly, Maharashtra is also a major cereals and pulses producer. The total production of cereals, pulses and oilseeds was 161.18 Lakh MT in the year 2008-09. Inadequate availabilit y of post harvest facilities at the village level also leads to loss to cereals and pulses producers. Graded product will bring additional return to producers due to value addition.
3. These constraints affect the income of the farmer, mainly due to inadequate post harvest handling facilities at village level. In order to address these issues and to provide village level basic infrastructure for post harvest handling like cleaning and grading of food grains and cleaning, grading, packing of fruits and vegetables in more hygienic conditions, it is proposed to establish the Farmers’ Common Service Centers (FCSCs) by the Producers’ Associations (PAs) formed by the Producer Groups (PGs) of the farmers or by producers.
4. Group Activity is more effective for the benefit of the members of the group than the individual efforts. Informally formed small groups called as self help groups have exhibited their strengths in various fields including agriculture, in improving financial conditions of the members.
5. FCSCs are conceived as small scale commercially viable entities owned by PAs. The FCSCs will support 250-300 members, through Producer Groups (similar to SHGs) of around 12-19 active members in each Producer Groups (PGs). The FCSC will mainly deliver some basic value added activities, in