The Bharuch district administration Sunday held the first farmers’ market on the hostel ground where around 50 farmers from eight villages of the district set up shop and sold directly to customers, bypassing the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC).
The Bharuch district administrative officials, after learning about the pitiable condition of the vegetable farmers post-demonetisation, had requested the agricultural department to allow them to organise a fair where the farmers could directly sell their vegetable produce to customers. On Friday, Bharuch district administrative department received a circular from the state agriculture department, which was sent out to all the 33 districts in Gujarat, to organise a temporary Sunday Bazaar for the vegetable farmers. Bharuch district collector Sandip Sagle, along with his staffers, started the awareness drive in Bharuch city to invite people and purchase vegetables directly from farmers at Grahak Khedut Bazaar.
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The farmers’ market was organised at hostel ground in the middle of the city on Sunday by Bharuch district collector officials. Around 50 farmers, from eight different villages — Kansiya, Muland, Chhapra, Mangaleshwar, Nikora, Kuarwada, Bet and Borbhata in Bharuch district — gathered with their produce early Sunday morning.
People got attracted to the market because of competitive rates. The market opened at 9 am. It had fresh-from-the-farm vegetables – sweet potato, bottle gourd, brinjal, amaranth leaves, pumpkin, cabbage, capsicum, organic banana etc. Within an hour-and-a-half, the farmers had sold all their produce. The farmers later met the district administrative officials and thanked them for the initiative.
Talking to The Indian Express, Amrat Rathod, a farmer from Kansiya village, said, “I came here with two gunny bags of Tur and everything was sold. We are thankful to the district administrative officials for organising such bazaar for us. Earlier, we use to sell our produce to the traders of Bharuch APMC through commission agents. The agents used to take their cut and sell them to the trader who also kept a profit margin before selling it to the local retailer. The customers directly purchase from the retailer who also keeps his profit margin. Like this, the prices of the agriculture produce are higher after passing through different stages.” Rathod sold the pea stock at Rs 30 per kilogram against the market rate of Rs 40 per kilogram and earned Rs 10 on every kg.
Bharuch district Assistant Collector Amit Yadav said, “We acted on the circular of the state government and the results were overwhelming. The farmers are happy and so are the customers. Now, the farmers get sufficient price of their products. We will continue this trend in the coming days. At present, we are organising it once in a week at one place. In the second week, we will organise such a bazaar at two different places — one at Hostel ground and another at Zadeshwar area. Many farmers are listed in the agriculture department of the district panchayat so we could easily contact them.”
Bharuch APMC Secretary Dipak Patel said, “We welcome the initiative by Bharuch district collector who is acting on the state government’s decision. This business will not affect us and seeing the current situation in the wake of demonetisation, the vegetable-producing farmers were more affected as their produce is perishable. The farmers who participated in the Grahak Khedut Bazaar are not big suppliers of vegetables. We purchase vegetables in bulk. Earlier, these small farmers used to come to us with vegetables and we used to purchase from them. Our business will not get affected by this initiative.”