Delay in rolling out farmers’ markets in urban areas, faulty planning and poor promotion by the state agriculture marketing board have forced farmers to sell their produce at agricultural produce market committee (APMC) wholesale markets, instead of coming to the city.
Thousands of farmers joined the farmer’s market scheme rolled out by state government in August. The move was welcomed by both consumers and farmers as it cut down the supply chain involving traders, wholesalers, commission agents and retailers.
However, the move has been marred by delay in opening of more markets. “We need an alternate market to sell our remaining produce the same week or else we are forced to return with 20-25% of the produce. The delay in starting new markets may force farmers to opt out of the scheme,” said Khanderao Mapari, farmer from Nashik Lasalgaon.
In August, minister of agriculture and horticulture and marketing Sadabhau Khot announced 100 farmers’ markets would be opened across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) by September, but so far only 20 markets have started.
Currently, the state is operating three farmers’ markets in Mumbai, 15 in Thane and 2 in Navi Mumbai. “Getting approvals from the departments concerned, including police, traffic, fire and municipal corporations, take time. We have waited for approval for one site for almost two months. This delays the process,” said an official from marketing board, requesting anonymity.
Varsha Raut, head, advocacy and campaigns, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, said, “This is yet another example of poor planning and implementation by the government. The state has started three markets in the city, of which two are within three km at Vidhan Bhavan and Hutatma Chowk. If the government wants to help citizens, the market should have come up in the suburbs or central Mumbai.”