Maharashtra’s farmers can now sell their produce online
Taking note of protests by farmers’ outfits demanding better prices, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to start e-trading of agricultural produce. The state Cabinet on Wednesday approved the change to the existing laws to facilitate the move.
According to the government, the move will create competition among traders and help farmers sell their produce at better prices. They can also sell their produce outside Maharashtra. It will be covered under the Centre’s national agricultural market scheme (e-NAM) introduced in 2016 to bring in transparency and competition by ensuring better value search. “The government is ready to take help from farmer producer organisations (FPO) and corporates to make Maharashtra a unified market,” said Bijay Kumar, additional chief secretary, marketing department.
“With this, we will abolish the licence system that has led to monopoly among traders. By registering with e-NAM, anybody can participate in e-trading of agricultural produce for any APMC across the state,” Kumar said.
While the state added 85 agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) to the portal recently, it will soon add 145 APMCs to the scheme. “Maharashtra has more than 300 APMC markets, with 230 major ones. By adding 145, the state government will include all major markets to the scheme,” Kumar said.
Ajit Nawale, general secretary, Akhil Bhartiya Kisaan Sabha (ABKS), which has been fighting for farmers’ rights, said the scheme will not benefit all farmers. “The government is unaware of ground reality. Around 85% farmers in the state have small and marginal land-holdings, with limited produce. They can’t participate in the e-trading process. Schemes such as e-NAM will only help big farmers,” Nawale said.