Following several complaints of auctioning and traders’ monopoly in agriculture produce marketing committee (APMC) markets, the state government is set to have ‘modern markets’ in Bhiwandi, Nagpur and Nashik to cater directly to farmers.
The ‘modern markets’, an initiative pushed for by the central government is being implemented by the Maharashtra state agriculture marketing board (MSAMB) and aims to make markets more farmer-friendly, eliminating unnecessary middlemen, and ensuring farmers get appropriate rates.
“The idea is to decentralise the central markets which are more trader-driven and make markets more accessible to farmers,” said Agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, who is leading the project. Each market would have modern facilities like pre-cooling, storage, packing and an electronic auctioning system, explained a senior agriculture department official. The market complex will also provide farmers with storage facilities.“The facilities provided by the market will allow farmers to wait till he gets the best price,” the official said.
The markets will come up through tenders on a public-private-partnership (PPP) basis where builders will develop infrastructure on available land and will be given a part of it to recover their costs. They can use this land to provide ancillary services required in a market, he said.
The agricultural department estimates an expenditure of at least Rs100 crore on each market. The state has been able to acquire 92 acres in Bhiwandi where two bidders have come forward to develop the market.