Spread over a sprawling 122 hectares,the Mumbai Agricultural Produce Market Committee at Vashi is entry point of all foodgrains and vegetables meant for the extended region of Metropolitan Mumbai.
Every day,nearly 1,800 tonnes of vegetables enough to provide 90 grams to each of the 2.02 crore residents of Mumbai,Thane and Navi Mumbai roll into the yard from vegetable producing areas like Nashik,Pune,Satara,Sangli and other parts of Maharashtra as well as from outside the state.
The supply centres of vegetables change with season. At times,almost 80 per cent of the produce could be from the state. It can,however,dip to as low as 40 per cent at times with vegetables coming from outside the state, Avinash Patil,deputy secretary of the APMC,said.
These vegetables ferried by farmers are then weighed and sorted in the yard according to their quality. As per rules,a committee of APMC officials,traders and farmers are supposed to grade the quality of the produce.
Farmers complain that only a part of this lot is graded,in violation of the rules. As per rules,the farmer has to pay APMC a sum ranging from 0.2 % to 2 % as fee for facilitating the sale of his produce.
After separation,the stock is then sold with the help of commission agents,who charge anywhere between eight to 15 per cent from the farmer for helping him sell his produce. Under the existing rules,they are supposed to take only between 2 to eight per cent.
Interestingly,under the Model APMC Act,the central government has stated that no commission should be taken from the farmer.
The wholesellers who buy the produce then ferry the produce to the retailer who then sells it to consumers. Along the chain,the farmer seems to come off as the worst affected. There could be a price difference of almost 60 per cent by the time the product reaches a consumer.