Turnover at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market of Latur has been declining steadily over the last three years.
It is one commodity market whose activities are directly monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office. The reason: the Latur APMC is the benchmark for tur dal and green chana prices. Established over 84 years ago on October 24, 1931, the main arrivals here are pulses (tur, chana and urad), oilseeds, sunflower and jaggery.
Lalitkumar K Shah, Chairman, APMC-Latur, said the drought was creating havoc. Take for example, numbers on soyabean arrivals. Shah says, “In FY14, we received between 50,000 and 60,000 bags (of 60 kg each) a day which halved to 25,000 a day in FY15 and in the last fiscal decreased further to 10,000 bags per day.”
Shah feels the South-West monsoon holds the key for the revival of APMC. Labourers on commission basis, who get paid for the number of bags handled, have been the worst hit as a result. There are about 4,000 such labourers, of which 2,000 are licence holders. On the ecosystem around the APMC market yard, Shah says, “The sentiment among the employees has deteriorated from happy in FY14 to not happy in FY15. But there were no retrenchments in FY15. However, intermediaries are facing a problem in paying salaries and taking care of expenses in FY16. We may see people leaving employment of intermediaries at the Latur APMC if the drought persists.”