Dharshana Kathiresan, INN/Chennai, @infideaofficial

India has planned to allow farmers to sell their products directly to bulk buyers such as food processors, trading companies, and large retailers, the farm minister said on June 3.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told the press after a cabinet meeting led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that this action would prevent the necessity for farmers to bring their products to India’s more than 7,000 regulated wholesale markets and let buyers buy from the fields.

He also added, “This is a historic-step in unlocking the vastly regulated agricultural markets in the country.”

In view of changing the rules, the cabinet has agreed to pass an emergency executive order.

Farmers are directed to sell their produce at wholesale markets in the majority of the states in the country, according to the ancient Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act.

This was initiated for the purpose of guarding farmers against the mistreatment of established buyers such as big trading houses, food processors, and large retailers.

But this was regarded by many farmers as an act of obstruction to selling produce in a direct manner to big buyers such as Tesco and Wal-Mart Stores which can also give them proper returns.   

Additionally, a blurred system of auctioning by middlemen’s cartels at wholesale marketplaces gives farmers only little bargaining power and brings a new level of mediators into the picture, thereby increasing the prices for the consumers.

Moreover, the national lockdown due to the coronavirus added to the sorrows of the farmers and brought a great deal of scarcity in labor. This also impacted the functioning of wholesale markets. 

As the government hasn’t abolished the APMC Act, these markets will function as usual, but one change is that the government has now authorized farmers to sell their produce directly to buyers.

By Editor