Punjab Government enables farmers to keep middlemen at bay

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Abohar, Dec.3 (ANI): The Punjab government is encouraging farmers to sell off their produce in the market without suffering exploitation at the hands of middlemen in the State.

As for a long time, it was observed that farmers produce vegetables, cereals, food grains and much more with much hardship through out the year. However, they fail to reap the rewards of their hard work due to commission agents or middlemen.

Taking note of such wide scale exploitation by the middlemen, Punjab government introduced the concept of Apni Mandi or, farmers' market where they can directly deal for their produce with the buyers.

Started in 1998, today it helps small farmers to gain direct access to consumers and keeping the middlemen at bay. The concept of 'Apni Mandi' or, farmers' market has been quite successful in Punjab.

Previously, these middlemen would charge as much as about 15 to 20 per cent as commission. But now the farmers survive such an income loss.

"The farmer brings fresh and clean vegetables to the market and sells it directly to the customers. The role of middlemen ends here and the farmer can earn more to support his family," said Jaswinder Singh, President, Apni Mandi.

The 'Apni Mandi' scheme provides self-employment to the producers and encourages them to sell their own products.

Such markets have been set up in about 23 cities and towns of Punjab, including Chandigarh.

In Abohar city, Apni Mandi was started in 1990 and since then farmers have been arriving here in big numbers every Sunday to sell their vegetables and fruits.

The market committee fixes the prices of vegetables and fruits that ensures farmers getting a better price and the consumer getting vegetables that are marginally cheaper.

"The vegetables that farmers bring to the market are fresh. The reasonable rates at the mandi attract the customers. The Mandi board has made proper arrangement for the rates. There is no bargaining. Farmers also like it and the most important thing is that the customers get fresh vegetables here," said Prem Balana, a customer.

"The farmers bring the vegetables to the mandi on Sundays. Money doesn't matter and we get fresh vegetables, so we come here," said Gurmeet Singh, a customer.

Apni Mandi has really come as a blessing for the farmers particularly the small and marginal farmers, and the consumers.

To popularize the concept of 'our own market', government provides basic infrastructure facilities like market yard and lighting.

Other benefits include input subsides, better quality seeds and loans at reasonable rates of interest from the Bank.

There are plans to promote 'our own market' concept to make farmers self-reliant and provide consumers the best quality product at reasonable rates. (ANI)

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