Union Agriculture ministry has asked state governments to allow bulk buyers, processors and big retailers to purchase agri-produce directly from farmers by bypassing the established mandi systems for at least three months. The directive is meant to achieve two objectives - to decongest mandis in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and to allow farmers to sell their products at remunerative prices by allowing aggregators to source it directly from them.
In a letter, Agriculture Secretary asked the states to temporarily relax the monopoly enjoyed by Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets (mandis) in the agri-produce trade by limiting their regulatory powers under APMC Act to within the physical premises of such notified markets.
The big buyers should be allowed to make direct purchases with minimum or without requirement of any licensing or registration process, the letter said.
The Centre also wants the state governments to declare all Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) registered warehouses in the states as deemed markets to facilitate electronic-NAM (national agriculture market) transactions.
"As the harvest season has started, there is an immediate need to facilitate the process of direct marketing of kinds by farmers or group of farmers, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and cooperatives. This can be facilitated by the states by limiting the regulation under State APMC Act to within physical premises of notified markets", the directive said.
On April 2, the central government had exempted the services of direct marketing - directly from farmers, groups of farmers, FPOs and cooperatives from the lockdown restrictions.
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