May 13, 2021 8:46:18 pm
After remaining suspended for a month, trading of agricultural commodities partially resumed on the yard of Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Rajkot but without auction with traders saying the decision was to help farmers.
“We were receiving requests from farmers to help them sell their harvest…some of them needed money in the time of Covid pandemic while others had to settle their accounts with share-croppers. Some said their produce were kept in the open on their farms… We requested the APMC chairman to allow partial resumption of operations else farmers will have to suffer because there is no certainty from the government on reopening of APMCs… After the APMC administration agreed, trading resumed on Wednesday,” Atul Kamani, president of Rajkot APMC Commission Agents Association, said.
Usually, farmers can take their produce to the APMC yard anytime of the day, unload it the space allotted to a commission agent for auction and get payment after the produce is sold through an open auction. Now auction is not possible due to government restrictions.
“A farmer has to intimate a commission agent in advance. On the basis of a letter issued by the agent, the APMC administration allows the farmer to get the produce to the yard. The agent then takes sample from it and shows it to traders and seals deal with the one offering the highest price,” Kamani said.
The commission agents act as bridge between farmers and traders in APMCs in Gujarat. “While farmers are realising marginally lower price than through open auction, at least they are getting a platform to sell their produce,” Kamani said, adding commission agents are paying marketing cess to the APMC administration on every transaction.
He said an average of 80 farmers sold their produce on Rajkot APMC yard on Wednesday and Thursday.
Major APMCs in the state closed down since the second week of April after Covid-19 cases surged. The state government later ordered suspension of trade of all commodities, save fruits and vegetables, on APMC yards.
Rajkot APMC chairman DK Sakhiya could not be reached for a comment.
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