The vegetables that are available from the Horticulture Corporation outlets are again deteriorating by the day. One does not know whether it is because of the monsoons but the quality of the vegetables that are coming is downright bad and they are particularly dirty.
Looking at them one does not even feel like buying them and serious doubts arise whether they are edible or not. This applies particularly to onions, potatoes and tomatoes which one can consider to be the staple vegetables that Goans eat.
The vegetables imported from Karnataka and Maharashtra may not be good for human consumption and often look like animal feed which is in access in those States.
It is said that the worst quality of vegetables grown with the use of pesticides is specially sent to Goa. And we, having no alternative, buy them at grossly inflated prices. The quality of the vegetables at Panjim market with the private traders is a little better but nowhere near the freshness that you get at either Mumbai or Bengaluru. However, the limited range of local vegetables which are very much seasonal is very good. Therefore we need to expand this local availability.
Recently one read in the papers that Goa will be trying to export vegetables. This is once again barking up the wrong tree maybe at the instance of a politician or minister to satisfy his pet theories. Let us first try and supply Goan vegetables in the internal markets in Goa before we even think about export. This should be the first priority which will in turn reduce the dependence of having to bring in vegetables from our adjoining States.
In the first instance the Horticulture Corporation should pull up its socks and ensure that good quality vegetables are brought into Goa by regular inspection and rigorous interaction with the suppliers. The Horticulture Corporation should also have a system of regular inspection of its outlets to track the quality and methods of storage of the vegetables so that they are able to give a correct feedback to the suppliers and also train the retailers in Goa.
It should not be that once in a blue moon the Horticulture Corporation wakes up, makes some noise to show that they are doing something then goes back to sleep again. If the FDA is asked to inspect the retail outlets it would be a better idea but then some of the outlets are sure be recommended to be closed down on grounds of cleanliness and hygiene.
Even an outlet run by the Horticulture Corporation on 18th June Road in Panjim that was opened some time back with great fanfare is filthy, smelly and badly maintained with regard to storage of vegetables. It is time that something be done to get good vegetables to come into Goa and sold in an appealing manner.