A year after the Centre repealed farm laws following opposition from a section of farmers in Punjab and Haryana, growers in Maharashtra are ensuring the continuation of reforms by establishing private mandis. Now, Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) in the State are coming up with their own Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC) yards.  

In the repealed Farm Laws, the law about trade and commerce was planned to promote barrier-free, inter-State and intra-State trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations. , According to experts, the reform could have unlocked the vastly regulated agriculture markets in the country.

However, Maharashtra farmers are finding a way to get rid of APMC directors, traders, and arhtiyas (commission agents), who dictate the trade, say growers. 

2005 amendment

The Maharashtra government in 2005 amended the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce Marketing (Development & Regulation) Act, 1963 allowing private mandis along with direct marketing licences, single market licences for the whole State, farmer-consumer markets and contract farming. 

The State now has 1,460 direct marketing licence holders with a turnover of ₹1,368 crore in 2021-22. The number of single licence holders in 2021-22 was 33 and they reported a turnover of ₹5,563.17 crore that year. Maharashtra has 73 private markets with a turnover of ₹4,555.84 crore in 2021-22, according to the State government. State officials say private mandis are slowly consolidating their position in the trade.  

A statement issued by the Maharashtra State Agri Marketing Board reveals that the functioning of the APMCs has improved because of the competition they are facing from the direct marketing and private mandis. The board said the number of private market licence holders is increasing in the State. In 2016, the BJP-Sena government delisted fruits and vegetables from the purview of APMCs and now private mandis are providing more options to farmers. 

FPOs in private mandis 

Nashik-based Sahyadri Farmer Producer Company has become the first FPC in India to get a licence for a private APMC. Sahyadri MD Vilas Shinde said the market will come up in Dindori in Nashik district over the next three months with an investment of ₹25 crore. Sahyadri has already readied the infrastructure for the market. According to Shinde, farmers’ own mandi will help them to get a better price for their produce and also control the market prices. He said farmers will benefit from the competitive marketing system.

“ It is difficult for small and marginal farmers to take their produce to mandis and many times even the production and transport cost is not recovered because of the low prices in the market. If traders come to farmers it would benefit us” says Asha Bahirwal a farmer from Beed.