Draft Law will provide restriction free trade of agriculture produce and livestock, and provide wider options for farmers to sell produce at better prices.
New Delhi | 24 April 2017
Centre has come out with new draft model law with an aim to make every state in the country as one unified agri market. The draft model law seeks to end monopoly of traditional APMC mandis and also allow private traders and others to set up their own wholesale markets. The new draft model law called as Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitating) Act (APLM), 2017 will provide restriction free trade of agricultural produce including livestock to farmers and traders for across the state and country. This is expected to provide wider options to farmers to sell produce and get better prices.
While briefing the media persons Union Agri and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh told, “Most states have ratified the draft law and agreed to implement the law except the states of Bihar and Kerala. But Kerala has given the consent to it. Bihar is yet to respond to it”.
“The model law, if implemented will help farmers to double their income by 2022”, he added.
Radha Mohan Singh also told, “Currently, there is only one regularized market in an area of 462 sq km. Ideally, as per recommendations of National Commission there should be a market within the radius of 5 km. Through new law, the government’s aim is to set up a wholesale market at every 80 km”.
Minister was briefing the media after the conference of agri ministers of all the states on agri marketing.
Explaining the new model Act, Additional Secretary in Agriculture Ministry Ashok Dalwai said, “It will liberalise agri-market and make it competitive by allowing more people to set up own markets. Thus ending the monopoly of APMC mandis and reducing them to just one of the markets. The objective is to create a single agri-market where with single licence one can trade agri-produce as well as livestock. The new draft law will help farmers and traders to access different buyers and sellers across the state in case they don’t get appropriate price for their selling their produce or for traders buying the produce at their place. Director – Agri Marketing in each state will be a single regulatory and licensing authority in a state that would issue licence of trading”.
He also informed, “As per the new law, private markets, direct marketing and even godowns and silos can be notified as markets. Even an individual keen to buy bulk agri-produce for a big event like marriage can take licence and buy the produce but not more than three times in six months.”
“The new mechanism will also put an end to government intervention by declaring MSP (Minimum Support Price) gradually as markets are expected to function more efficiently if new law is implemented by states”, he added.
According to noted food and agri expert Devinder Sharma, “APMC regulated markets have over the years turned into a den of corruption. Strong cartels of wholesale traders have certainly been using their financial muscle to manipulate prices. Allowing more competition for bidding by making the process open to traders from across the country too is welcome. But unless farmers are assured of a remunerative price, I think the entire emphasis on proving an electronic trading network is lost. To bring in efficiency in market trading, purchasing at the MSP price should be made statutory. Buying the produce from farmers below the MSP should be made illegal “.
To operate in the new market scheme, draft model law will also put a cap on market fee at not more than 1 percent for fruit and vegetables, and 2 percent for food grain. The commission agents’ fee will not be more than 2 percent for non-perishables and 4 percent for perishables.