In a unique initiative that will enable farmers to wait for the right price and the right buyer for their produce,the Maharashtra government has thrown open its 168 godowns to them as well as permitted them to store their cleaned,graded and packed non-perishable produce at nominal prices at private accreditated godowns.
The farmers will also be able to avail of bank loans at a lower rate of interest,which will allow them to have some money in hand so that they can wait to sell their produce.
Currently,farmers are either selling off their produce directly to traders or government procurement agencies as per their own exigencies. A distressed or needy farmer will sell it off early when the price could be at the lowest mark. So he gets little in return. Now,under our godown scheme,he can store his produce at government or accreditated private godowns for nominal rent (Rs 25 per bale per month) and get a receipt. Under the amended Warehousing Development and Regulation Act 2007,these receipts have the status of negotiable instruments and can be deposited with banks to get loans at interest rates on par with crop loan,which comes to barely about 4 per cent. Its like mortgaging the produce. The godowns will have computer links with banks and commodities markets doing futures trading,which will enable them to display the current and future market prices of the produce. This,in turn,will help farmers hold their produce till they get the right price, Principal Secretary (Agriculture),Maharashtra,S K Goel told The Indian Express.
The additional advantage of the scheme,according to Goel,is that it helps the farmer sell his produce online in a virtual market,thus throwing open to him markets across the country. Currently,he has only APMCs (Agriculture Produce Market Committee) yards to physically sell his produce.
Of the state governments 168 godowns,said Goel,they had already upgraded 40,spending Rs 50 crore and creating cleaning,grading,packing,computerisation,electronic display boards and laboratory facilities. The other godowns will only have electronic display facility besides storage. Farmers going there will have to do all other processes elsewhere first, the Principal Secretary said.
The government is next planning to upgrade about 1,000 of the 5,000 primary agriculture credit society (PACS) godowns to widen the presence of the scheme to the village level.
Grass is greener
Farmers can avail of 168 Maharashtra government godowns
Store produce at private accreditated godowns for nominal rates
Bank loans at lower interest to allow them to wait for right prices to sell their produce
Godowns to be linked to banks and commodities markets doing future trading
Farmers to be able to sell produce online