De-listing of fruits and vegetables from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act in the national capital has brought cheers to farm produce organisations (FPOs) in Maharashtra, with a new business avenue opening up for them. More than 10 FPOs in the state under the Vegetable Growers Association of India (VGAI) will now be directly selling their produce in Delhi, without the intervention of any agent or trader.
Within days of being sworn in, the NDA government had promised to de-list fruits and vegetables from the APMC and allow farmers to sell directly in the open market. Most of the states are, however, yet to come out with an official notification due to political compulsions. The decision follows announcement of “farmers-only market yards” earlier this year.
Shiram Gadve, president of VGAI, said 10 FPOs from Pune, Ahmednagar, Nashik, Satara and other parts of the state would avail the opportunity to directly sell their wares. FPOs are registered companies of the farmers who bargain collectively for farming and marketing purposes. Already, many of the FPOs are involved in the process of direct marketing in Pune, Mumbai and other cities under the aegis of the Maharashtra State Agricultural Produce Marketing Board.
During the onion crisis, which had hit the national capital, onions from Pune and Nashik were sourced by VGAI to be sold directly in Delhi at a lower price. On an average, VGAI has managed to keep the prices of fruits and vegetables at 10-12 per cent lesser than normal retailers.
“The details of the backward and forward linkages, vital for the survival of direct marketing, have been worked out by us. VGAI Maharashtra will be looking after the sourcing, transportation and logistics of the farm produce, while marketing will be looked after by our counterparts in Delhi,” said Gadve.
On an experimental basis, VGAI has been supplying 2 tonnes of fruits and vegetables to Delhi for the last few months and plans to take it up to 5 tonnes per day.
VGAI has opened channels of discussions with various resident welfare associations (RWAs) to directly sell the farm produce. At present, fruits and vegetables are being supplied to 12 RWAs and talks are on with others. Gadve said they were also in talks with offices, government messes, canteens and other institutions to open more marketing avenues. Other than onions, fruits like pomegranates, bananas and seasonal vegetables will also be sold by the VGAI in Delhi.