With the new farm Acts enacted recently by the Central government coming into force and the Gujarat Assembly passing a Bill amending the Agricultural Produce Markets Act 1963, the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) of Mahuva in Bhavangar on Tuesday initiated process to segregate licences of commission agents and traders operating on its yard. It also decided to make it mandatory for a commission agent to procure a shop on the yard premises.
The APMC has started dispatching letters to around 1,500 licence holders, asking them to choose between surrendering their licence or opt for acting as commission agents only. It cited a letter from the Director of Agriculture Marketing and Rural Finance (DAMRF) functioning under the Department of Agriculture, Farmers Welfare and Cooperation of the state government dated July 30, and subsequent meeting of the licence committee of the Mahuva APMC held on September 25.
“As resolved by the licence committee, you are hereby directed to decided whether you want to retain your licence as a commission agent or transfer it in the trading department. You are requested to convey you decision by filling the attached form and submitting it by October 30, 2020, failing which it will be presumed that you do not wish to retain your licence as a commission agent…,” stated the letter.
The President gave assent to the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment & Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 passed by both the Houses of Parliament last month.
The Bill passed by the Gujarat Assembly as well as new laws enacted by the Central government strip APMCs of their powers to regulate procurement of agricultural products from farmers by traders and aggregators by limiting their jurisdictions to the physical boundaries of their yards only.
So far, APMCs in the state were authorised to issue licences for procuring and selling farmers produce, functioning as a commission agent.
“The promulgation gave APMCs time till November 6 for segregation of licences. We had to initiate the process assuming we have the powers to issue licences to commission agents who want to operate on our APMC yard. We have made it mandatory for a commission agent to procure a shop on the APMC yard by March 2021,” Ghanshyam Patel, chairman of Mahuva APMC told The Indian Express.
The APMC is planning to add 100 more shops to the existing 325 shops over the next six months. “With that, we will have shops equal to the number of active commission agents,” said Patel.
Vishal Pachani, secretary of Mahuva APMC said that all the licences issued by the APMC, which is one of the biggest wholesale market of onion in the state are combined licences. “This is the reason, we have sought clarity from the licence-holders. Secondly, in other major APMCs like Gondal, Rajkot, Amreli, Surat etc it is mandatory for a commission agent to purchase a shop on their yards for getting licensed as a commission agent. So we are just following their suit ,” he said.
“We are waiting for formal notification of the rules of the newly amended Act to get some clarity. Therefore, we have not started segregating licences yet,” said Gopal Singala, chairman of Gondal APMC where around 500 of the approximately 1,200 licences are combined licences.
DK Sakhiya, chairman of Rajkot APMC, said that half of 700 licences issued by Rajkot APMC were combined licences but added that he too was waiting for clarity from the government.
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