State Agriculture Minister Radhakrishan Vikhe-Patil hinted that the government would soon come up with an official gazette to denotify the sale of fruits and vegetables from the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC). Refusing to give out a fixed date, Patil confirmed that the notification would be issued before the state assembly elections to be held later this year.
Patil ,who was addressing a press conference in Pune on Saturday, said that the delay in issuing this notification was due to the lack of strengthening of alternate platforms for the farmers. “For the last three years, we have been exploring various mechanisms to do so but it has not been done that well,” he said.
Pointing out how the government has already denotified the sale of 23 processed food items from APMC, he said that the APMCs have to find out alternate methods of financing themselves, after the denotification of the products.
The issue of de-notification of fruits and vegetables from APMC has become a major bone of contention between the state government and the commission agents and traders. The latter had opposed the move tooth and nail and had gone on strike on more than one occasion. The state government had justified their move by saying that it would help the farmers get a better price for their produce and also open up the markets for competition.
Meanwhile, Patil, while speaking about the raids conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on traders who allegedly use calcium carbide to ripen mangoes, said that the government will not allow usage of banned substance. “We will speak to the agents to check for adoption of techniques which are not allowed. I will talk about setting up of ripening centers,” he said