New Delhi: Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that after independence, this is the first government, which is not only focusing on the economic development of farmers along with the agricultural development but also taking concrete steps at grass root level for the development of farmers. Shri Singh was speaking at a meeting organised for Agri-Marketing Ministers of the states.
Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that it is our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream to double farmers’ income by 2022 and that farmers should be part of mainstream development. This can be possible only when the centre and the state governments would work in tandem. To double farmers’ income, work is being done on three levels.
Shri Singh said that the first level includes production cost reduction and to increase productivity. To achieve that, the states should make optimal use of the central government schemes - Soil Health Card and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana. Under Soil Health Card Scheme, the soil is tested and under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana water is made available to the fields.
Union Agriculture Minister said that second level to double farmers’ incomes includes diversification into allied activities such as livestock, poultry, bee-keeping, and agroforestry. The government has taken several steps in this regard.
Shri Singh said that the third and the most important level include providing regulated Mandis to ensure profitable returns to farmers for their produce.
Shri Singh said that so far traditional Mandis have done well, however, now it’s imperative for the Mandis to adopt new marketing strategies to address the demands for marketing of increased and diversified agricultural marketable surplus.
Considering the need, Agriculture Ministry prepared a Model Act on Agricultural Marketing in the year 2003 and this was circulated among the states to improve market laws as per the act. After 2003, for a long time, no major change was made in the Agriculture Marketing. In March 2010, an Empowered Committee of the state ministers’ in-charge of Agri-marketing was formed under the chairmanship of Shri Harshvardhan Patil. The committee submitted its interim report to the Agriculture Minister, Government of India, but no further action was taken after that.
Shri Singh said that after forming the government, we have taken several important decisions to improve the conditions of the farmers. To double farmers’ income, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved National Agriculture Market (E-NAM) Scheme on July 1, 2015, with a budget allocation of Rs.200 crore. Subsequently, under the pilot project, 23 markets from 8 states were integrated by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on April 4, 2016. This scheme provides an online trading portal to farmers and enables them to have an access to transparent sale transactions and price discovery. Under this scheme Rs. 30 lakh is sanctioned to each market to build essential infrastructure. The fund was increased to Rs. 75 lakh during budget 2017-18. So far 417 regulated markets from 13 states have been integrated into the scheme, which will be increased to 585 till March 2018. So far, 42.18 lakh farmers and 89,199 traders have been registered on E-NAM portal and the turnover is Rs.16, 163.1 crore from the trading of 63.17 lakh tonne produce. The main objective of the scheme is to give access to farmers about prices of various markets at one place so that the farmers can sell their yield under a transparent system to a buyer who offers the best price. One of the highlights of this scheme is that the farmers would get the price of their yields based on the quality of their product because before electronic bidding quality is tested. For the success of the scheme, the state governments have to make efforts and Hon’ble Ministers will play an important role in its success.
E-NAM is seen as a milestone in the government’s Digital India initiative. Also, E-NAM will boost Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by providing compost plants in the market.
Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that to meet the marketing sector challenges, our ministry has formulated Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act 2017, which was sent to the states and union territories for comments on Feb 6, 2017. The draft was also uploaded on the Agriculture Department’s official website for public comments. The final draft of the APMC Act 2017 has been prepared while including the inputs of all the stakeholders and is being sent to the state governments for implementation.
The APMC Act primarily includes following subjects: Establishment of private market yards/ private markets managed by a person other than a market committee; direct marketing - direct purchase of agricultural produce from farmers; consumers’/ farmers’ market to facilitate direct sale of agricultural produce to consumers; promote and permit e-trading; single point levy of market fee; single registration/ license for trade/ transaction in more than one market; removal of provisions of essentiality of shop in market premises; exclude fruits and vegetables from APMC Act etc.
Its implementation by the state governments will help in fulfilling our Prime Minister’s dream of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfares said that the act provides only one market provision at the state level and promotes “Ease of doing business” model to facilitate direct marketing and private sector markets. Shri Singh said that the new act allows farmers to participate in the market management by conducting elections. Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that the electronic platform has been made competitive and Mandi fee and commission charges have been rationalised. Apart from this, interstate trade is also being promoted. Shri Singh said currently regularised market is available at every 462 sq km, but as per the recommendations of National Commission ideally, a regulated market should be available to farmers within a radius of 5 Km. To achieve the same, and to provide markets for the farmers’ at their farm gates provision of declaring godowns and cold storages as market have been made. If the state governments would implement it diligently, farmers will be empowered to decide who to sell and at what price to sell. Union Agriculture Minister said that one of the important points of this scheme is that the farmers would get the price of their yields based on the quality of their product because before electronic bidding quality will be tested.
Shri Singh said that another important decision taken by the government is the formulation of model contract farming law.It will help in providing marketing infrastructure, developing marketing skills and in reducing risks associated with diversity in production. It will also help in preparing a price list for all commodities and improving the share of producers in consumers’ money. To achieve that, the government constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary (Marketing) on February 28, 2017.
To further strengthen crop and fundamental marketing infrastructure, our department held a meeting with the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA). After that a committee was constituted on April 9, 2017, to establish sub-market yard. Declaring warehouse/godowns as the market is an effort to bring markets closer to the farmers and facilitate them with pledge loans. Emphasis is being given to the investment in agriculture sector. This model act offers an investment opportunity in the market infrastructure from public and private sectors. In the end, the minister stressed that it is an achievable target if the centre and the state will work together.
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