Changes to Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act on cards

Following the Centre’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail, the Delhi Government is considering easing certain norms for allowing direct purchase of produce from farmers by retailers.

Initially, the Government will go for making amendments to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act to allow direct connectivity between retailers and farmers, officials said.

According to the existing provision, farmers cannot sell their produce directly to retailers as it has to be routed through the mandis.

“We will have to bring amendments to APMC Act to break monopoly of the wholesale markets so that retailers can directly buy agricultural produce from farmers,” Delhi Chief Secretary P.K Tripathi said.

Tripathi said after getting detailed communication from the Centre on allowing 51 per cent foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, the State Government will work out a detail plan of action to help the global majors set up shops in the Capital.

According to the FDI policy approved by the Cabinet, the final authority for granting trade licence rests with the States under their respective Shops and Establishment Acts.

Breaking monopoly

To break the monopoly of Azadpur mandi, considered one of the largest fruit and vegetable wholesale markets in Asia, the Government is also considering allowing private market yards for marketing of farm produce. “We will have to change the monopoly of wholesale market.

Allowing direct purchase by retailers will also help farmers get better return on their produce,” Tripathi said.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who also holds the finance portfolio, has been strongly backing the Centre’s decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail saying it will help farmers get best remunerative prices for their products, besides facilitating lower rates of essential commodities.

States that have supported the Centre’s decision include Maharashtra, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Assam — all ruled by UPA.

These states have 19 cities — including Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Srinagar and Guwahati — with more than one million population.

According to the Centre’s decision, foreign retailers will only be allowed to set up shop in cities with over one million population.

(This article was published on September 18, 2012)
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