Updated: Jun 8
Bengaluru, as an urban conglomerate, is bursting from the seams. The city attracts many migrants, promising them livelihoods, each year. This growing population needs its demands met, of which food is one of the most vital commodities. Now, the food that one consumes comprises of different kinds of items, ranging from cereals to vegetables, from organic to processed food.
A major role of this food story is played by vegetables, an essential part of the diet in any Kannada household. A survey by NSSO 2009-2010 highlights the per capita veggie consumption in 30 days and the ratio of households consuming a veggie to 1000.
We can infer from the above table that maximum households prefer including vegetables like onion, potato, tomato, brinjal, lady’s finger, chillis among others in their diet. The most consumed vegetables per capita, however, have lemon and spinach too in the list besides the aforementioned veggies. An assessment by the Department of Horticulture, Karnataka, estimated the daily demand for tomatoes at 290 tonnes and onions at 280 tonnes. Leafy vegetables and potatoes' daily demand was predicted to be 160 and 140 tonnes respectively. Bengaluru consumes the most vegetables in Karnataka since a fifth of the state's population resides there. The question is, however, 'how and from where does the city get its vegetables'.
To answer the question, we’ll have to examine the four channels which supply the vegetables to the city.
HOPCOMS: Horticultural Producers' Cooperative Marketing and Processing Society was a cooperative started by the Department of Horticulture in 1959 to serve farmers' interests. As of now, it operates Bengaluru Urban & Rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, and Ramnagar. 70 tonnes of vegetables supplied every day are sold from HOPCOMS outlets at fixed prices.
The feasibility of direct payments aids both the producers and consumers.
APMC: Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee is another entity established by the government so that farmers' earn at least 70% of the market prices despite the involvement of mediators.
The Regulated Marketing Committee (RMC) is the area designated for vegetables from all the cities of the state. An RMC in Kalasipalyam receives over 280 tonnes of vegetables from areas like Mysore, Ramnagar, Doddaballapur, Malur, Aneka and Hoskote. Other similar markets exist in the city falling under AMC in places like Madivala, KR Puram etc.
APMC Market Bengaluru
● Wholesale markets: Markets of Sadashivnagar, Malleswaram and BTM layout, cater to farmers who choose to sell directly to customers. The only drawback is, the vegetables, due to the lack of cold storage, have shelf lives ranging from 12 hours to a day.
Malleswaram market veggies
● Supermarkets: Major establishments like Reliance, Food World and others have massive purchasing power. They may buy from cooperatives like HOPCOMS or purchase directly from farmers in Kolar, Devnahalli or Chickballanpur.
If we try pinpointing the exact districts which supply Bengaluru its vegetables, the data by the Horticulture Department of Karnataka provides helpful insights.
Bellary, Gadag, Chitradurga, Dharwad
Kolar, Bangarpet, Srinivaspur
Chickballapur, Hoskote, Mysore, Hassan
Doddaballapura, Malur, Hassan, Mulbagal, Hoskote
Mandya, Chickballapur, Devanahalli, Ramnagar
Dharwad, Hoskote, Magadi, Ramnagar
Vegetables are a part and parcel of any Bengalurean’s life, be it the person who relishes their taste or the hawker who sold it on his cart or the truck driver who drove miles to bring the produce here or the farmer who toiled hard to grow them.
The story of vegetables is the one that deserved narrating.