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Food and Agribusiness

Use the COVID crisis to transform the agri- marketing system in India

Here are a few suggestions that may help to put the agri-system on an efficient path in India. One, abolish/reframe the APMC Act and encourage direct buying of agri-produce from farmers/farmer producer organisations (FPOs). The companies, processors, organised retailers, exporters, consumer groups, that buy directly from FPOs need not pay any market fee as they do not avail the facilities of APMC yards. Two, the warehouses can also be designated as markets, and the warehouse receipt system can be scaled up. The private sector should be encouraged to open mandis with modern infrastructure, capping commissions. Three, futures trading should be encouraged by allowing banking finance to hedge for commodity price risks. Four, promote e-NAM through proper assaying and grading the produce and setting up dispute settlement mechanism; rope in major logistics players for delivery of goods. Five, procurement must be staggered through coupons and incentives that give farmers an additional bonus for bringing produce to the market after May 10, or so. And six, the amount provided under PM Kisan should be increased from Rs 6,000 to at least Rs 10,000 per farming family to partially compensate them for their losses.

Read more at The Indian Express