THE Maharashtra government?s recent move to ?de-list? fruits and vegetables (F&V) from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee?s (APMC?s) schedule has generated lot of hope, but questions remain over how it would actually help the farmer ? the ostensible beneficiary of what is being billed as a ?big reform? move.
To start with, what exactly has changed? The previous Congress-NCP regime in Maharashtra had already, in 2006, amended its APMC Act to allow private traders and corporates to buy not just F&V, but all farm produce, under a so-called direct marketing licence (DML) system. Under it, the government offered such licences to those wanting to buy directly from farmers, by-passing the regulated APMC mandis. The DMLs were against furnishing of bank guarantees of up to Rs 15 lakh, primarily intended to ensure farmers got their payments in case of trader defaults.