Allow bulk buyers, big retailers to buy directly from farmers, cooperatives: Centre to states
New Delhi, Apr 08: The Centre has asked states to allow bulk buyers, processors and big retailers for next three months to directly buy agri-produce from farmers, FPOs and cooperatives, in a bid to decongest mandis and ensure enough supply to consumption region amid COVID-19 lockdown.
The state governments have also been asked to notify warehouses registered by Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) as deemed markets to facilitate online trading through electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM), Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal said in a communication to chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories. States have been asked to adopt these two emergent measures for at least three months, he added.
"As harvest season has started, there is immediate need to facilitate the process of direct marketing of all kinds by farmers, FPOs and cooperatives," Agarwal said.
In the present challenging time due to COVID-19, there is a need to allow free direct marketing outside the mandis as this shall not only decongest mandis but also facilitate the farmers in selling their produce near to farm gate at remunerative prices, he said.
To facilitate direct marketing, the state governments have been asked to allow direct buying facility by bulk buyers, processors and big retailers, outside mandis premises within a minimum or without any requirement of a licensing or registration process.
"This will facilitate farmers to sell their produce near to harvest centres and simultaneously decongest mandis in the present circumstances," the secretary said.
To facilitate online trading via eNAM, the states have been asked to enable online trading of stored produce of farmers from the registered warehouses.
For which, the states have been asked to notify such warehouses as deemed markets and also enable the FPOs to upload their produce for their collection centres for bidding through eNAM, without necessarily bringing produce to the mandis.
The government has exempted direct marketing from farmers, Farmer Producers Organisations (FPOs), cooperatives from the lockdown rules.
The government has exempted many of the agricultural activities from the lockdown rules to ensure the farming community is not hit as well as maintain enough supply of vegetables in the consumption areas.