With the establishment of new farms law by the Center, Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) in Maharashtra have set up an alternative marketing channel where farmers receive comparative prices on their WhatsApp groups or via SMS, helping them to make a decision whether they’d like to sell their products to the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis or to the FPC procurement centres.
Maharashtra Farmers Producer Company (MahaFPC), a conglomerate of some 400 FPCs in the state, is one of the major corporations to tap alternative markets. As per MahaFPC MD Yogesh Thorat, new Agriculture Laws, particularly the one on APMCs, gives farmers the freedom to choose the market. If the rates are higher than the MSP, farmers will sell their products outside the mandi to the FPC’s procurement centers and, if the market rate is lower than the MSP, they will bring their products onto the market.
Farmers Producer Companies
‘The FPCs ensure that trade commitments are met and farmers get money on time when they sell the products to FPCs,’ said Thorat, adding that a competitive environment is supporting farmers to get the right price for their produce. MahaFPC predicts that between October and December 2020 it’s own members in HingoliLatur, Osmanabad and Nanded have earned around 10 crore by selling their products outside of Mandis.
Tur dal (arhar) and soya dal farmers in Marathwada have sold their produce outside of Mandis when they get higher rates than MSP. The FPCs in Satara have established their own retailer to sell their goods. Maharashtra Shetkari Sanghatana encouraged farmers to sell their goods to FPCs and private companies to make a good profit.
Madhu Harne, Shetkari Sanghatana, had said that intervention by the govt in price control affects farmers. And according to Bharat Dighole, President of Maharashtra State Onion Growers’ Association, if domestic prices rise, the government must not import agricultural products like pulses and onions. “Let the market play according to its rules and regulation, and the farmers will shoulder the profit and loss”, he said.
Stay has been hindered by momentum
According to FPCs, the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to stay in compliance with agricultural laws hindered sales outside Mandis. Staying on implementation means that, as of now, the government cannot take any executive action to enforce the law.
FPCs worry that the alternative marketing system they are trying to build with the help of new laws would have a major setback if the farm laws stalemate proceeds.