Madhya Pradesh on Friday amended its Mandi Act to allow initiatives like setting up agriculture marketing yards and letting farmers sell their produce from their farms or doorsteps.
Promulgating an ordinance to amend the Madhya Pradesh Krishi Upaj Mandi Act, and calling it a game changer, the government said the move would increase farmers’ income because they would have the option of selling their produce at a higher rate at their convenience. They can go to government marketing yards where produce is bought after auction or sell to the government at MSP.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees will not interfere in private mandis. From warehouses to silos to cold storage, any premises could be declared a private mandi. The director of agriculture marketing will issue a licence to trade agriculture produce for the entire state or part thereof, establishing a private market yard and electronic trading.
Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Ajit Kesari said the government has made its intent clear and the rules will be framed later. He said the amendments were born out of the aim to decongest mandis in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
The government has also revived the practice of ‘sauda patrak’. Discontinued in 2009, it allowed farmers and traders to buy outside the premises of designated mandis but the sales were recorded in mandis.
Mandis and procurement centres were opened on April 15. Nearly 80 per cent of mandi sales in the last fortnight have been through sauda patraks, Kesari said. “If the farmers feel empowered and are mature enough, why not decontrol everything?” he quoted the Chief Minister as saying.
The amendments will ensure that a trader does not have to go to a mandi to get permission to sell the produce purchased from farmers. The trader will get an electronic permit instead.