Agri Business

Agriculture ordinance needs to be studied in detail: Balasheb Patil

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on June 19, 2020

The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce Ordinance, issued by the Central Government recently, needs to be studied in great detail due to its impact on the farmers and Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in the State, said Maharashtra Cooperation Minister, Balasaheb Patil.

The Ordinance was issued on June 5 aiming to reform the APMC and to create an unified market across the country for agriculture produce.

Patil told BusinessLine that the State government has already formed a small committee for studying the impact of the pandemic on the APMCs and the ordinance is also being studied in detail. But no final decision has been taken, he said.

A senior Maharashtra Government official told BusinessLine that the process of reforming the APMCs has been happening since 2004 when the first model act for APMC reform was brought about by the Centre. The idea is to give more remunerative prices to the farmers and to remove market intermediaries such as Commission Agents from the APMC ecosystem but the problem is the Commission Agents are deeply linked with political parties. Therefore, successive governments have not been able to fully reform the APMC.

The Ordinance talks about issues such as selling farm produce anywhere in the country. Issues such as contract farming and how to make a contract if farm inputs are providedrequire a detailed study about practical benefit to farmers and market committees, the official said.

The official added that APMCs were set up with an intention to prevent farmers from getting low prices and protecting them from financial fraud in the sale and purchase of agricultural commodities. The State has also spent a huge amount from its budget on market committees and its infrastructure, their presence needs to work out in ‘one country, one market’.

Even cotton sale was completely deregulated in Maharashtra in the last decade with the State government stopping procurement of the fibre on a large scale but again in the last two years, the farmers have been demanding the State’s intervention to buy cotton. In the same way, APMC has its uses, which needs to be fine-tuned.

Published on June 19, 2020

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