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State mulls deregulation of perishable farm produce sale

Member Of Parliament Sanjay Nirupam,who met Agriculture and Marketing Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Monday to press for a sub-center of the Vashi-based Agriculture Produce Market Committee market in the western suburbs,said the state government is looking into the possibility of deregulating the sale of perishable farm produce.

Written by Kavitha Iyer | Mumbai |
January 10, 2012 1:17:11 am

Member Of Parliament Sanjay Nirupam,who met Agriculture and Marketing Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Monday to press for a sub-center of the Vashi-based Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market in the western suburbs,said the state government is looking into the possibility of deregulating the sale of perishable farm produce.

While a demand to completely exclude vegetables and fruits from the statutory visit to the APMC markets has been made earlier as a method to free farmers as well as consumers from middlemen’s interests,Nirupam said the procedure for vegetable and fruit traders to obtain a direct trade licence that will permit them to buy from farm-owners and directly retail the produce would soon be made clear.

Nirupam claimed that the move would significantly reduce prices of fruits and vegetables after March.

Government sources said about 90 direct trade licences were given earlier following the amendment of the APMC Act in 2006,a large number of these for cotton traders. Many of these licence-holders did not come for renewal too. “The demand to completely deregulate perishable farm produce has been made earlier,” said a senior government official. “The government will take a view on it.”

Nirupam had,among others,originally sought a sub-center of the APMC market in the Dahisar region in order to reduce the transportation costs that traders bear in taking trucks coming from Nashik or Surat to Vashi and then back to the western suburbs.

Nirupam said the regulation of the sale of farm produce had caused a significant increase in prices during the four-stage journey from farm to consumer.

“There is a margin added when produce is taken to the market,from where a stockist picks it up in bulk and then another margin added when the wholesaler sells to retailer,and then the retailer’s margin,” said Nirupam. “We hope that the proposed deregulation will give better prices to the farmer while bringing thier produce to the consumer at a lower price.”

The APMC,designed originally to protect farmers in their interaction with the market,has seen tremendous politicisation over the past several years,with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) controlling most major market committees across the state.

Meanwhile,the suggestion to deregulate farm produce is expected to be hotly opposed by brokers,agents and other middlemen. Mathadi workers who unload and reload the produce at the APMC center in Vashi are also likely to oppose the move.

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