Official for cutting short supply chain to help ryots

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Coimbatore, Jun 17 (UNI) Union Agriculture Secretary P K Mishra today said farmers got only a minor share in the final price paid by the consumers despite significant growth in production of sugarcane, cotton and foodgrains in the last two years due to a long value chain.

Inaugurating a two-day workshop on ''Supply chain management of selected agricultural commodities'' at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) here, Mr Mishra said it was necessary to shorten the chain and encourage their vertical integration and consolidation for ensuring remunerative prices to farmers.

Unfortunately infrastructural facilities in regulated markets had remained highly inadequate due to inappropriate market infrastructure, lack of standardisation and grading facilities and fragmented supply chain and multiple intermediaries leading to high losses and wastages.

Even the availability of these markets is quite limited in several states and farmers had to travel long distances to avail market facilities leading to increased transaction costs.

Therefore, most of the farmers were compelled to sell their produce in rural primary markets or through commission agents at non-remunerative price, he said.

Stating large investments were required for the development of post-harvest and cold chain infrastructure nearer to the farmers for efficient marketing system, he said a major portion of this large investment is expected from the private sector for which an appropriate regulatory and policy environment was necessary.

To encourage private investors in procurement of agricultural commodities directly from farmers, the Union Government circulated a model agricultural marketing law for guidance to the states and also requested the state governments to amend the respective Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts for deregulation of marketing system in the country.

This was mainly to promote investment in marketing infrastructure, motivate corporate sector to undertake direct marketing and facilitate contract farming.

But only 17 states and union territories amended the APMC Acts while Bihar repealed the law.

He said under the Horticultural Mission, Modern Terminal Markets were launched with the objective of attaining effective supply chain management and to help the farmers.

Terminal market complexes were envisaged to operate on a Hub-and- Spoke Format wherein a Terminal market (the hub) would be linked to a number of collection centres (the spokes) conveniently located at key production centres to allow easy access to farmers.

Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and the union territory of Chandigarh had initiated action for setting up these markets in about 20 locations.

Tamil Nadu Agricultural Department Commissioner S Kosalaraman, in his address, said his department was concentrating on educating farmers to ensure proper adoption of System Rice Intensification (SRI) Technology for rice cultivation as it gave the highest productivity level of 13 to 14 metric tonne of paddy per hectare.

He said the department had been restructured in the state by positioning officers belonging to Agriculture, Horticulture, Agricultural Marketing and Seed Certification at block level to provide a single window extension delivery.

UNI KS PDT RAI1939

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