Agri Business

Gujarat amends APMC Act by promulgating Ordinance

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on May 11, 2020

Following the Centre's directive to States to amend their Agricultural Produce Markets (APMC) Acts, the Gujarat government has promulgated an Ordinance expanding the purview of the Act to include livestock under agricultural produce and to provide better market access to farmers.

As per the amendment, the new Act is termed Gujarat Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 1963.

The Act paves the way for establishment of a livestock market. Also, it seeks to have involvement of local authorities, including panchayati raj institutions who own and operate rural periodical markets such as haats within their area. This is “to develop these markets for efficiently function as marketing platform nearest to the farm gate,” the amendment says.

A note on the Ordinance said: “In view of the suggested model draft Act by the expert committee of the Government of India, some amendments are made in the Gujarat Agricultural Produce Markets Act 1963. It is also necessary to bring marketing of livestock such as cow, buffalo, bullock, bull, goat and sheep etc and also poultry and fish under the ambit of this Act.”

It further states that the amendments come “to ensure that the spirit of competition is encouraged and the principle of ‘farmer first’ is kept in mind.”

Market panel structure

The government has also amended the structure of the market committee of a market yard, which is deemed to be of national importance with increased membership from farmers.

For the traders operating within the jurisdiction of an APMC the act now opens up doors to access any APMC across the state with the Unified Single License. A single licence will be applicable to the whole of the State for the traders to be granted or renewed by the Director. The existing trader licences granted by the market committees shall be converted into State wide single trader licence by the Director.

Farmer leaders have welcomed the amendments terming them to be in the larger interest of the farmers. “There is an element of fair competition and opportunity for farmers to sell their produce wherever they find a best value for it. Also, the act removes the conventional involvement of middlemen by allowing farmers to sell their crops in a free market. This is a progressive step towards a more robust farm economy,” Arvind Patel, an agriculture expert from North Gujarat told Businessline.

However, there were certain concerns flagged by the APMC management, who claimed that the farmers' interest may get compromised if they are exposed to the market forces.

“Farmers may not have complete market information and the buyers may take an advantage of their ignorance and try to exploit them. We are not currently sure how this amendment will be effective on ground. Farmer’s interests appear to be under risk, whereas corporate buyers may get an advantage by striking a deal directly with the farmer,” said Dinesh Patel, Chairman, Unjha APMC, one of the largest APMCs in the country.

Published on May 11, 2020

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