Farmer from India-Pakistan border backed now-repealed farm law with minor amendents
A farmer turned promoter of a private mandi in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer area, 25 kilometres from the India-Pakistan border, has backed the now-repealed farm rules with minor adjustments, even if it means fewer earnings for him. Simultaneously, he wants the government to assist the private sector in agricultural marketing when first assistance is required.
‘First and foremost, I am a farmer, and there should be freedom to sell anyplace, said Vijay Singh, the promoter of PTM Krishi Mandi. Prior to the new regulations enacted by the Centre, our farmers were free to travel to Gujarat. However, they were only allowed to sell at one mandi. They will continue to sell solely at mandis after the repeal, despite the fact that the legislation previously enabled them to sell directly to companies.’
However, Singh, who is challenging the State in court to allow another private mandi in the area, wants traders to pay some taxes to the government when purchasing directly from farmers. He wants both systems – mandis and direct purchase – to coexist, but is unsure whether traders will flock to his market yard following the freedom. “Some vendors continue to buy directly from farmers outside the PTM mandi,” he said.
Crop arrivals in PTM Krishi Mandi fell 34% to 898.26 tonnes in 2020-21 as a result of the Covid shutdown, which permitted traders to buy directly from farmers. In terms of value, the drop was 46% to ₹3.61 crore.
‘This year, arrivals improved in April-May due to higher chana output in our area,’ Singh said, adding that approximately 545 tonnes were reported in these two months, which are the peak harvesting period of the rabi season.
Singh, who started the business in August 2018 near Sultana village, hoped to serve the local farmers who used to travel 80 kilometres to Jaisalmer to sell their produce. However, following the Covid epidemic, many traders in the mandi shuttered their doors, according to Singh, which is also a factor in fewer arrival. Farmers want more traders to participate in auctions, and Singh believes the government’s electronic platform may assist.
‘We are ready to participate in the e-NAM (electronic National Agriculture Market), but we need some direction. We can ensure quality and delivery if the government can guarantee payment to farmers by buyers,’ Singh added.
He stated that some farmers in his area go almost 500 kilometres to Unjha, Gujarat, to sell their cumin and that if e-NAM helps them sell their produce at the correct price, they may opt to sell online. Aside from cumin, the northern Jaisalmer region, where Singh owns 160 bighas (approximately 40 hectares) of farmland, is also known for producing high-quality isabgol, chana, guar, and moth (a similar variety of moong).
Rajasthan has permitted 12 mandis in the private sector since it liberalised Agri markets in 2016, with six of them thought to be operating.