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State allows farmers to sell vegetable and fruits outside APMC

Traders at Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Vashi have expressed their displeasure over the development of allowing farmers to sell vegetable and fruits outside APMC. The decision will give farmers an option to sell their produce at APMCs and processors or supermarkets directly.

Traders have been opposing the move as they claim that this will ultimately affect farmers and people associated at the wholesale market. According to analyst, the impact of the decision will on total turnover of all state APMCs.

As per official of administrative department of APMC Vashi, the contribution of fruits and vegetable to the market is around 25% of the total turnover. “The annual turnover of the APMC Vashi is around Rs10,000 crore to Rs12,000 crore and fruits and vegetables contribute around Rs3,000 crore,” said an official from APMC Vashi.

Narendra Patil, MLA and mathadi union leaders said that he would protect the interest of mathadi workers. “We will ensure that mathadi workers (head loaders) should not be neglected and they will get work wherever they wish to work,” said Patil.

Mathadi workers across the state have been opposing the state government’s decision of keeping fruits and vegetables out of the APMC Act. They had held a meeting on the issue on June 7 at Mathadi Bhavan in Vashi which was attended by Narendra Patil, MLC, traders and official of ministry of marketing. During the meeting, both traders and mathadi unions opposed state government’s decision of keeping fruits and vegetables out of the APMC Act and they alleged that the decision was being taken to fetch benefit to corporates which run supermarkets. They had even planned to go on strike, but, they postponed after getting assurance from the state.

According to traders, they have no issues if farmer sell their produces directly to anyone but who will regulate if they are cheated by private company. “At present, if any traders cheat any farmer, there is laws in APMC to punish trader as it works under state government. We want more details whether thee will be any regulatory body to handle such issues,” said a trader, adding that some officials in the marketing department has been reportedly working to benefit multinational companies.

Earlier, the Congress-NCP government had decided to remove vegetables and fruits from the grip of the APMCs. However, the decision was held back owing to protest from traders. According to industry bodies, the ratio of price rise from farmer to consumer is 1:4, which means it is the grower and the end consumer who are cheated most.

As per the government decision, purchasing directly from farmers for retailers will mean reducing the intermediaries, thereby bringing down spoilage of fruit and vegetables. On an average, fruit and vegetables pass through six to seven layers of middlemen before reaching manufacturers or consumers.

But on the contrary, a trader says that it will increase problem for farmers. “If they directly sell to intermediaries or consumer, the chances of financial issues are likely. And, then there will be no one to sort out,” said the trader.

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