Agricultural produce marketing, sales, exports: India
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Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees
Four years after Maharashtra removed fruits and vegetables from the purview of its Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs), private markets still play a small role in agricultural produce trade.
For 2019-20, the turnover of the state’s 305 APMCs was Rs 48,429 crore — 479% more than that of the 60 private markets and 1,165 holding private licences to buy directly from farmers at Rs 8,360 crore. This shows that the deregulation of APMCs did not lead to farmers switching en masse to private markets. Indeed, the Maharashtra experience does not support the logic behind the Centre’s new farm legislation on APMCs: that monopolistic mandis are blocking private markets and depriving farmers of choices.
The bulk of crops doesn’t even reach markets, but are sold at the village level to traders or dealers, as per data of the Centre’s National Sample Survey Office. However, when it comes to markets, APMCs are still the preferred destination for farmers in Maharashtra.
Maharashtra was among the first states to adopt the Model APMC Act of 2003, laying the ground for agricultural marketing reforms. By 2016, when the BJP-Shiv Sena government was in power, it delisted fruits and vegetables from the purview of APMCs. In 2018, during the same regime, the state assembly passed a bill to remove all agricultural produce from the purview of APMCs, but the bill was defeated in the Upper House. The deregulation of APMCs during the BJP-Sena’s tenure had political undertones since bulk of them are controlled by the NCP and Congress. Data shows that the turnover of the state’s APMCs grew the year after they were deregulated. In 2016-17, the turnover was Rs 48,659 crore and in 2017-18, it rose to Rs 51,003 crore. While four years after fruits and vegetables were delisted from APMCs, their turnover declined by 4% to Rs 48,429 crore, the arrivals dipped from 2,158 lakh quintals to 1,638 lakh quintals in the same period.
India exported agri and allied commodities worth Rs 2.74 lakh crore during April 2020—February 2021 compared to Rs 2.31 lakh crore in the same period the previous year, recording an increase of 18%.
The commodities which posted significant positive growth in exports were wheat, rice (non-Basmati), soya meal, spices, sugar, raw cotton, fresh vegetable, processed vegetables and alcoholic beverages. Wheat export posted huge growth over last year, increasing from Rs 425 crore to Rs 3,283 crore — an increase of 727%. The Nafed had exported 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan and 40,000 tonnes of wheat to Lebanon under government to government arrangement. “Even during the difficult time of pandemic, India took care not to disturb the world food supply chain and continued to export,” said the agriculture ministry in a statement.
During April 2020-February 2021, the country imported agri commodities worth Rs 1.41 lakh crore compared to Rs 1.37 lakh crore in the same period last year witnessing an increase of nearly 3%.
Referring to the export-import figures, the ministry said, “Despite Covid-19, balance of trade in agriculture has increased during April, 2020 – Feb, 2021 to Rs 1. 32 lakh crores as against Rs 93,907 crore during the same period in 2019-20.”
The export of organic products from India, 2016> 19