Govt mulls to set up bureau for promoting quality farm produce
The government is planning to set up a marketing standards bureau to ensure grading, standardisation and quality certification of agricultural produce.
The main aim of the marketing standards bureau will be to ensure that agricultural produce is marketed well and fetches good price. In this regard emphasis will be laid on promoting standard packaging methods.
Horticulture minister Vidya Stokes had recently asked the agriculture ministry to ensure the use of standard packaging material for apples from the next harvesting season. “This issue involves both horticulture and agriculture departments as apples come under horticulture while packaging is a mandate of the agriculture department,” an official said.
Telescopic cartons, that have been used until now to pack apples, have no weight limit and many a time stuffing these cartons damages the fruit. However, during a convention held in November last year at Shimla, fruit growers agreed to use the “universal carton” instead, after the government convinced those who expressed their reservations.
“Government would not only introduce the new packaging material but also strengthen the mechanism to ensure packaging standards,” said Himachal Pradesh horticulture produce marketing committee (HPMC) vice chairman, Prakash Thakur.
The marketing standards bureau has been enshrined in the new Agricultural Produce Market Committee (AMPC) Act, introduced to facilitate pledge financing, e-trading, direct purchasing and export besides forward/future trading and introduction of negotiable warehousing receipt system in respect of agricultural commodities.
“Our focus is to make the bureau active to ensure enforcement of standardisation of fruit and farm products,” Thakur added.
Moreover, with the government set to introduce the universal carton, farmers are hopeful of more profit. “Since the new packaging material will reduce the weight of each box, the government should also reduce the freight charges,” said Rohit Chandel, a farmer in Matiana village.