Agri Business

Covid-19 crisis: Gujarat retreats from its order to keep APMCs open

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on March 26, 2020 Published on March 26, 2020

A day after asking the State APMCs to resume auctions in grains and pulses to secure food supplies, the Gujarat government on Thursday retreated from its decision after facing resistance from traders, farmers and agents over the coronavirus scare.

In a revised notification, Office of the Director APMCs, Gujarat, stated that it received requests from multiple APMCs citing inability to perform auctions due to factors such as March-ending, non-availability of labour and thin presence of traders at the market yards. “Post our consultation with farmers and traders of such APMCs, it is decided to keep APMC operations shut till April 2,” it said.

The Secretaries of APMCs joined a video conference with the top officials of the State government on Wednesday after the earlier notification, which had ordered the APMCs dealing in grains and pulses to remain open so as to ensure availability of foodgrains during lockdown.

Agents have come up with a suggestion for the government to directly procure the foodgrains from the farmers on the lines of MSP operations for groundnut.

“Starting auctions at an APMC like Rajkot will involve at least 12,000-15,000 people. So it will kill the purpose of lockdown. Also there is fear of a spread of coronavirus. If the government intends to make grains available, they should follow the groundnut procurement model,” said Atul Kamani, President of Rajkot Commission Agents’ Association.

Meanwhile, the State government has adopted micro-planning for availability of foodgrains, milk and vegetables to the consumers. Helpline numbers — 1070 and 079-23251900 — are set up for citizens to raise issue about supply disruptions. “A 24x7 central control room has been set up under State Emergency Operation Centre to monitor and track supplies of essential commodities. There are 68 vegetable markets operational across the State. We are ensuring that adequate quantities of vegetables, fruits and milk are made available,” informed Ashwini Kumar, Secretary to the Chief Minister.

Data available with Nafed on pulses and oilseed stocks, show that as on March 24, Gujarat has reported stocks of 2,126 tonnes of moong; 8,822 tonnes of urad; 7,916 tonnes of tur; 9,868 tonnes of grams, while it has over 5,77,410 tonnes of groundnut pods and 25,444 tonnes of mustard seed stocks available.

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Published on March 26, 2020
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