The national capital will have the country’s first “kisan mandi” — a fruit and vegetables market outside the purview of the APMC markets marred by trade restrictions — six months from now.
The mandi, to be spread over 1.6 acres at Alipur in the city’s northern tip bordering Haryana, was “soft launched” on Thursday, with sale of about 20 tonnes of onions to Safal, the largest organised retailer of fruit and vegetables in Delhi and the NCR region.
When fully operational, 30 to 40 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and grower associations will display samples of their produce. Once deals are done on the spot or online, the goods will be delivered to bulk buyers like hotels, resident welfare associations and big corporate retailers at their doorstep.
The Delhi government had earlier this month removed a key hurdle that prevented farmer organisations and corporates from setting up new wholesale fruit and vegetable markets in the city, paving the way for other states to follow suit and remove trade restrictions under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Acts, without actually having to annul these laws.
“Through this market, farmers’ realisation is expected to increase by 20% to 25%, while consumers will get the produce at a 15-20% cheaper rate from the current level,” Parvesh Sharma, managing director, Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), told FE. Depending on the response to the new agri-marketing initiative, more kisan mandis would be set up in Delhi, Sharma said.
Initially organised retailers, hotels, restaurants, caterers, large vendors, exporters, processors and general public will benefit from the new market, which will provide a transit cold storage space and other grading facilities.
“We hope the kisan mandi will change the face of fruit and vegetable marketing in Delhi. They can give better prices to farmers and still offer their produce at lower prices to consumers,” said Ashok Gulati, Chair Professor Agriculture, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
To reach retail consumer, farmers go through seven to eight intermediaries such as APMC market thus escalating price of the commodities while in the case of Kisan Mandi there would be only a couple of intermediaries.
For example, Shriam Gadhave, a farmer leader from Junner Taluka of Pune district has agreed to supply onion at R22 per kg in Delhi while the current retail prices ranges from R30-35 per kg.
“At present, the wholesale price of onion in Maharashtra at around R16 per kg besides we will incur around R3 per kg as transportation cost.. As we would not need to pay mandi tax anymore in Delhi, our price would be lower compared to APMC price,” Gadhave said.
To sell their produce through Kisan Mandi, the farmers won’t have to pay the agents’ commission 6% in Delhi right now in the Delhi APMC market and the mandi tax (1%). This will help farmers get remunerative prices and bypass middlemen.
“In case of APMC market the agricultural produce is brought physically to the yard while in case of Kisan Mandi farmers would be bringing in only samples thus quality of the produce would be better,” Agriculture minster Radha Mohan Singh inaugurating the sprawling complex located close to Haryan border.
Recently the Delhi government through a notification had allowed new wholesale markets outside the purview of the existing three ‘APMC markets’ at Azadpur, Keshopur and Shahdara. The notification said “…regulations of marketing of fruits and vegetables shall cease beyond the market yards of APMC Azadpur, Keshopur and Shahdara, with immediate effect”.
Sandip Das | The Financial Express