A day after the state government announced the closure of six Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in Gujarat due to concerns surrounding the lack of social distancing, the supply of vegetables saw a 30 per cent decline on Tuesday.
Only 70,000 quintals of vegetables reached 68-odd markets in Gujarat, while earlier, during the lockdown, one lakh quintal vegetables were supplied. Six APMCs at Jetalpur, Padra, Himmatnagar, Kapadvanj, Dholka and Kalol were closed on Monday.
Meanwhile, the state government officials said that Jetalpur market that supplies vegetables to Ahmedabad will begin operations from Wednesday.
“The rest of the closed APMCs will soon be restored very soon. But they will have to follow the strict norms for social distancing,” Manish Bharadwaj, Secretary, animal husbandry, cow breeding, fisheries and cooperation told The Indian Express.
“Today we received a supply of 70,000 quintals. On the first day of the lockdown, the supply had come down to 53,000 quintals and subsequently we went up to 1.34 lakh quintals,” the IAS officer said.
On Tuesday, vegetable retailer Vimal Meena who has been delivering 100 kilograms of vegetables to 30-odd households in Ahmedabad city said that he has been finding it difficult to get vegetables ever since the Jetalpur market was closed down.
“Since Monday I have to go to multiple locations to find the vegetables and there were instances where I have not been able to supply the required amount of vegetables,” said Meena adding that there has been about 15 per cent rise in prices of vegetables due to the shortage.
Another retailer in Ahmedabad’s Bopal area, Ravi Prajapati, had to close his shop for last two days.
“As we got a message that the Jetalpur APMC would be closed for a few days, we informed our customers about it. This helped them to buy vegetables,” Ravi Prajapati said.
In Vadodara, after the closure of the APMC market in Padra which caters to over 600 vegetable farmers, the farmers have been rendered clueless about selling their produce. Bhupendra Patel from Umraya village in Padra now plans to hire a tempo and sell his produce himself in various villages nearby.
“We have been unable to fetch prices for our produce and this was final blow. Now I will have to hire a tempo and will visit villages on my expense and try to sell them or leave them to rot,” Patel says.
The Padra APMC is however planning to provide a list of the farmers to the traders so that they can directly approach the farmers.
“We are waiting for the detailed guidelines which will be issued tomorrow. Based on that we will chart our further course of action. We are also trying to speak to the administration and provide passes to the farmers so that they can travel to the cities and sell their farm produce directly without any middlemen,” said Padra APMC Chairman Bhaskar Patel.
Meanwhile after the closure, the inflow at the Sayajipura APMC in Vadodara has increased.
The inflow on Tuesday morning was 15,000 quintal as against the daily inflow of 9,000-11,000 quintal of vegetables. To accommodate and distribute the surplus vegetables, seven more tractors were roped in.
“Farmers from Padra had also come to the Sayajipura market. Though surplus is not an issue, it could be problem in the long run to handle the crowd,” said Kashyap Jani, Secretary, APMC Sayajipura.
There are about 70 APMCs in Gujarat that deal in vegetables and fruits.
Meanwhile, a circular issued by Dipak Patel, APMC Ahmedabad, Secretary stated that the Jetalpur market will “begin auction in interest of farmers and to ensure that there is no shortage of supply of vegetables.”
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