The government will bring in law to implement agriculture marketing reforms to provide marketing choices to farmers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday. The law will provide adequate choices to farmers to sell produce at an attractive price, Sitharaman added. The provision that restricts the selling of agricultural produce only to the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) licensees leads to less price realisation for the farmers, she said. However, such a restriction is not in place for any industrial produce, she also said, adding that it acts as a hindrance to free flow of agricultural produce and fragmentation of markets and supply chain.
Earlier, Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government will amend the Essential Commodities Act. The agriculture food items such as cereals, edible oils. Oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes will be deregulated, Sitharaman also said, adding that the stock limit will be imposed under very exceptional circumstances such as natural calamities and famines with surge in prices.
The amendment is largely to enable better price realisation for the farmers by attracting investments and making the agriculture sector competitive. No such stock limit will apply to processors or value chain participants, subject to their installed capacity or to any exporter subject to the exporter demand, she said.
Sitharaman also announced Rs 1 lakh crore fund to boost agriculture infrastructure across the country. The fund is aimed to improve the farm-gate infrastructure for farmers, Sitharaman added.
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