The direct link between street food vendors and local urban farmers prove to be advantageous, as consumers will be having easy access to fresh produce. Encouraging urban agriculture according to demand is necessary to keep up and increase this kind of link. When compared to Super markets or commercial vendors the wastage of produce, in case of street vendors is very low. Usually super markets prefer to keep only very good quality produce discarding even slightly damaged, though it is in edible condition. Street vendors make grade the produce according to quality and fix prices according to quality, making the produce available to all economic sections and minimising wastage. There are some government subsidies being given to establish kitchen gardens and also to encourage urban agriculture, but the pace of urban agriculture is slow and rather decreasing because of high commercial demand for lands in urban area for constructing buildings or other high investment infrastructures to accommodate increasing urban population.
The direct link between street food vendors and local urban farmers may also have a risk of health hazard to consumers as most of the street vendors directly bring their produce form farms, with no knowledge about ‘waiting period’ of chemicals used. They sell the produce, especially vegetables, immediately harvested a day after spray of chemicals. Hence there exists risk of residual chemicals in foods directly brought from these farms. Establishing a Government policy and its strict implementation to have a basic check of vegetables before entering into market to prevent presence of residual chemicals in them could make the vendor and farmer link safe and strong. Imparting free basic trainings to street vendors and farmers regarding chemical usage, waiting period, residual chemicals etc... and issuing licence to vendors who undergo the training and follow the standards would show good results. Providing incentives to such licence holders to sell near schools, hospitals, transportation hubs would encourage the vendors to follow standards while selling their produce.
Vijay Yadav Tokala, Postharvest Education Foundation (Trainee), India