In a bid to give direct access of markets to farmers and bypass the monopoly of traders in agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC) markets, the state government has planned to set up a mechanism called ‘modern markets’.
This concept, advocated by the Centre, will give farmers direct marketing licences to sell their products in markets, which will be built by the state. The mechanism will be first applied in three markets to be built at Bhiwandi, Nagpur and Nashik.
“This will mean that agro-companies and large consumers could directly pick up perishable products such as fruits and vegetables, which will largely cut out the commission, thereby making the products cheaper,” said MP Sanjay Nirupam who met state agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil on Monday.
Nirupam, in a letter to Vikhe-Patil, had asked to form an APMC market in suburban Mumbai as a sub-centre to the APMC at Navi Mumbai. With the new mechanism, however, perishable products need not be brought to the city through the APMC.
According to a senior agriculture department official, these markets would have all the modern facilities such as pre-cooling, storage, packing and an electronic auctioning system. The market complex will also house accommodation for farmers who want to store their produce.
The ‘modern markets’ will come up through tenders on a public-private-partnership basis where builders will construct the required infrastructure on available land and will be given a part of it to recover their costs, the official said.
The agricultural department estimates a cost of at least Rs100 crore on each market. Till now, the state has only been able to acquire the 92 acres in Bhiwandi where two bidders have shown interest in building the market.