Farmers in Maharashtra Go Online to Sell Their Produce as APMC Stands Banned in Trading
Maharashtra government recently removed the distribution of fresh agricultural produce from the ambit of the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC) and the traders working with APMC are enraged. The 302 APMCs operating in the state were shut down in protest of the ordinance passed by the government.
However, the farmers are beaming with joy. This is because, earlier farmers had to sell their vegetables and fruits to the traders who were registered under the APMC and the produce was to be sold in APMC regulated markets only. As it is already known, the profit margin for the farmers is sparse and over and top of which, they had to pay a certain fee to APMC to have their goods sold.
With the new ordinance, farmers are now allowed to sell outside the APMC controlled areas.
This means that the involvement of middlemen has been curbed and the farmers will directly get to sell their produce to the end users through ‘mandis’ (weekly farmer markets).
With the change in reforms, Shriram Gadve, the president of Vegetable Grower’s Association of India (VGAI) is certainly relieved and has many plans in store to help farmers sell their produce and help them earn their deserved profit.
The government has opened up many options farmers can use to sell their produce to end users, like e-commerce being the one of the options. In reaction to the reform, Gadve said, “There are plans for us to reach directly to the customers, especially in cities like Mumbai and Pune. In this regard, there are talks of renting out godowns in Mumbai which can serve as the central distribution and collection point for farmers. We are also developing a value chain which would help us reach out to small retailers directly from such collection centres.”
Many small farmer’s producer companies and Small Farmer Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) will help farmers market their produce through different channels. But most feel that it’s time to launch these produces on an e-commerce portal and provide many services like chopped vegetables and fruits, delivery of such perishable goods etc.
Also weekly mandis (farmer markets) are also beneficial as each farmer can make a substantial amount of profit by selling in these mandis without middlemen or brokers eating into their profit.
Gadve also mentioned that in 2012, a scheme wherein farmers would directly sell their produce to housing societies in the city was introduced but for many unknown reasons, the scheme never really took off but now Gadve is determined to revisit the scheme and make it a reality.
Sighting the major reform, the unhappy traders summoned traders from all over the state to a meeting under Maharashtra State Market Committees Co-operative Federation on July 11th in Pune and has decided to go to the high court to procure a stay on the ordinance. We are yet to see how this will go but we wish to see the farmers online.