Fresh initiative for the people

Catchy in name and bang on in usefulness, Taaza Tokri, the new fruit and vegetable outlet of the Goa Marketing Federation is a hit, finds out Shoma Patnaik

A recent store in Panjim drawing robust response from buyers is Taaza Tokri, next to the Goa Sahakar Bhandar on 18th June Road, Panaji.

Owned by the Goa State Cooperative Marketing & Supply Federation (GSCMSF), Taaza Tokri sells farm produce, viz. vegetables and fruits. Started in August 8 2016 and barely two months old, it already looks like a winner among the numerous stores on the busy road.  Customers have taken to it in a big way and word seems to have got around that the place is good for the daily essentials.

The Panjim municipal market is just a kilometer away and shoppers can easily walk down to it, but it is clear that the outlet scores over the market easily. Its customers are government employees from Junta House, office goers, shoppers on 18th June Road and dwellers of nearby residential buildings.

Check out reveals that vegetables and fruits on sale are affordable with prices tad lower than the market. The quality is fine and certainly better than what is available in the gaddos of the Goa Horticulture Corporation. Moreover the outlet tops in ambience as it has AC with three air conditioners maintaining a chill in the place.

Speaking to Kashinath S Naik, managing director, GSCMSF is illuminating. He says that Taaza Tokri’s turnover is above Rs 50,000 per day and daily footfalls exceed 600 customers. “The Sahakar Bhandar receives about 1,100 customers per day on an average and sizeable percent of them drop in at Taaza Tokri,” he says, adding that at the day’s end the store is nearly sold-out.  More such outlets are in the offing and the only hurdle is space constraints, he says.

In future the GSCMSF plans to make Taaza Tokri a chain and expand in Mapusa, Vasco, Margao and Ponda. For sourcing of supplies the co-operative has tied up with a party that has tie-ups with farmers and has cold-storage facilities. Supply of produce is everyday with two trucks arriving in the morning.

The profit margin is slim (five per cent) on all the produce, explains Naik. The only reason for keeping a margin is to pay for the fixed cost of running the store, he explains. The investment cost of setting up Taaza Tokri is slightly above Rs 12 lakh.

The place is making profit from day one although profit is not the goal of setting up the outlet. The bigger goal is controlling the runaway inflation in prices of vegetables, fruits and tempering the exhorbitant rates charged by vendors in the market, discloses Naik.

The outlet is committed to supplying fresh products and of good quality. GSCMSF monitors day-to-day running and is fully involved in operations. Efforts are on to monitor consumption daily so as to avoid wastages.

The market for farm produced goods in Goa is ripe for takeoff. Malls and supermarkets have separate sections selling fresh produce and most are doing good business. “Every salaried consumer would love to shop in a vegetable outlet that is run on professional lines,” says Naik. Until now high-profile department stores supplied farm produce in smart surroundings and so it is good to see a similar outlet started by a co-operative body.

Taaza Tokri stocks all vegetables and fruits available in the market. Besides the onions, tomatoes, lady finger, brinjals and chillie, there is exotic vegetables like red and yellow capsicum. In fruits the outlet sells kiwi, pears apart from the regular fruits.