After a break of seven days, the weekly farmers’ markets in the state have started functioning from Thursday. These markets, which allow farmers to directly sell their produce to consumers in cities like Pune and Mumbai, had ceased operations for a week because of the statewide farmers’ strike.
In the last seven days, farmers across the state had stopped the supply of milk and vegetables to the wholesale markets. Protesting farmers had also taken to the streets and disrupted the supply of fresh produce to metro cities. However, supplies are expected to be normal soon, as the strike was called off on Thursday.
Tushar Agarwal, a member of the Swami Samarath Shetkari Ghat, said, “Without the supplies, the markets could not function”. Agarwal added that the first of the markets was operational in Balewadi.
Last year, the weekly markets had emerged as a major alternative platform for the marketing of fruits and vegetables. The 102 weekly markets operate in cities like Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, among others. The weekly turnover of the markets is more than Rs 5 crore, with 800-900 metric tonnes of fresh produce being traded there.
Since Wednesday, markets in both Mumbai and Pune have seen almost normal supplies. The price hike witnessed in fresh commodities is also expected to subside in the next few days. The seven-day closure is expected to have affected business worth Rs 1,428 crore in the 40 major markets of the state.