Why Maharashtra farmers are selling outside APMC markets
Farmer Producer Companies are ensuring that trade commitments are followed and farmers get money on time if they sell the produce to them, says MahaFPC MD Yogesh Thorat
With new farms introduced by the Centre, Farmer Producer Companies (FPC) in Maharashtra have created an alternative marketing channel where farmers are getting comparative rates on their WhatsApp groups or via SMSes, helping them to decide whether they want to sell their produce in the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis or to the FPC procurement centres.
Maharashtra Farmers Producer Company (MahaFPC), a consortium of about 400 FPCs in the State, is one of the leading organisations to tap alternative markets. According to MahaFPC MD Yogesh Thorat, new farm laws, especially the one about APMCs, give freedom to farmers to choose the market. If the rates are higher than MSP, then farmers sell their produce outside the mandi to FPC’s procurement centres and when market rates are less than MSP, they take produce to the market.
Farmer Producer Companies
“FPCs are ensuring that trade commitments are followed and farmers get money on time if they sell the produce to FPCs,” said Thorat, adding that a competitive environment is helping farmers to get the appropriate price for their produce. MahaFPC estimates that between October and December 2020 its members in Latur, Osmanabad, Hingoli and Nanded have earned about ₹10 crore by selling their produce outside mandis.
Tur (arhar) and soya farmers in Marathwada have been selling their produce outside mandis when they get higher rates compared to MSP. FPCs in Satara have set up their own mart to sell their produce. Maharashtra Shetkari Sanghatana has been encouraging farmers to sell their produce to FPCs and private players to get good returns.
Madhu Harne is Shetkari Sanghatana said that the government’s intervention in price control harms farmers. According to Bharat Dighole, President, Maharashtra State Onion Growers' Association, the government must not import agricultural produce like pulses and onions if the domestic prices go up. “ Let market play according to its rules and farmers will shoulder benefits and losses,” he says.
Stay has hampered momentum
According to FPCs, the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision to stay the implementation of farm laws has hampered sale outside mandis. The stay on implementation means that as of now the government cannot proceed with any executive actions to enforce the laws.
FPCs fear that the alternative marketing system they are trying to build with help of new laws would receive a major setback if the stalemate over farm laws continues.