Run APMCs as professional outfits: Maharashtra cooperation minister

Run APMCs as professional outfits: Maharashtra cooperation minister

The study group has suggested making available facilitation centers for contract farming companies and exporters.

A 15-member study group, formed by the Directorate of Marketing, Maharashtra to suggest new sources of income for Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs), has recommended that market committees should be run as professional outfits to compete with private markets, said Maharashtra cooperation minister Balasaheb Patil.

“If the market committees continue to operate in the traditional way and do not find new sources of income, the possibility of some mandis getting into trouble in the future can’t be ruled out,” he said.

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“Despite the suspension of all transactions during the Covid period, the market committees continued to buy and sell essential commodities and the supply of essential commodities to the common man as well as the food supply chain remained smooth. This has been noticed by the government and the World Bank thus underlining the functioning and importance of market committees,” the minister said at a meeting held in Pune.

Agricultural Produce Market Committees should develop their own brand and present a credible image to farmers, traders, brokers, porters, brokers, commission agents and other related market elements, he said. At present, the main sources of income are market committee income, market fees, space and lease premium, interest on deposits, license fees, vehicle entry fee/parking income, commercial income and government grants.

The study group has suggested making available facilitation centers for contract farming companies and exporters. A policy should be formulated to provide space in the Market Committee premises to the companies that provide good quality seeds and fertilisers and to co-operative societies that can provide guidance in terms of export of agricultural commodities, the
group suggested.

The group has also recommended a survey for setting up petrol pumps, CNG pumps, charging stations and solar power projects to provide a permanent source of income to the mandis.

Maharashtra has 307 APMCs, many of which are struggling to survive. With new farm laws introduced by the Centre, farmers now have the option to decide whether they want to sell their produce in APMC mandis, private traders or to farmer producer companies. Although the SC has decided to stay the implementation of farm laws, some of the APMC officials believe it is only a matter of time before the laws are implemented.

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