Gujarat government has also started taking action against market yards that were not holding auctions but collecting cess from the traders in the area
After permitting farmers to sell their produce outside Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yards weeks before the central government issued an ordinance to this effect, the Gujarat government has decided to issue unified licences to traders allowing them to trade commodities at any APMC in the state.
At present, traders need to procure separate licences from every APMC to conduct business there. No licence is needed to trade outside APMCs.
Once the change is implemented, possibly through a new Act sources said, traders will get one licence that will allow them trade at all APMCs in the state. The state government is also considering allotting these traders a code, using which they can conduct business at APMCs in other states as well.
Another proposal being considered by the state’s agriculture ministry is to levy a small cess on trades conducted outside APMCs but within the state. The cess might be a quarter of the one currently levied on trades at APMCs.
Yasin Baloch, secretary for APMCs in the Gujarat government, said, “We are considering measures to further improve market access for farmers. We are also working on a state-level electronic market yard or mandi platform on the Karnataka model.”
Karnataka was the first to link all state APMCs to an electronic platform, which is a 50:50 joint venture of the state government and National e-market.
The Gujarat government plans to make the unified licence valid for trading on the proposed electronic platform as well. This platform is expected to help farmers sell their produce at any APMC in the state.
However, putting in place the infrastructure for this is crucial. In Karnataka’s case, APMCs provide grading and assaying services for farm produce.
Gujarat will also notify areas that will be considered warehouses from where if goods are delivered that will be considered valid to deliver to APMC trader also. This platform will be linked with eNAM platform created by the Union government.
The Gujarat government has started taking action against market yards that were collecting cess from traders despite not conducting auctions. There are 30-50 such APMCs in the state that, according to sources, were formed but either because they were not allotted land or for other reasons were not conducting trades. Farmers and traders have been trading directly.
One such market yard located in Saurashtra has been asked to stop collecting fees and cess. The state is expected to take similar action against more such APMCs.