Alternative market channels for farmers recommended

Alternative market channels for farmers recommended

Recommending further reforms in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Acts in the states, the Economic Survey 2011-12 has said farmers must be allowed alternative marketing channels if they find better pricing there.

Noting that the contribution of agriculture in the Gross Domestic Product had come down from 14.5 per cent in 2010-11 to 13.9 per cent in 2011-12, the survey also stressed on the need for comprehensive and coordinated efforts to achieve four per cent agricultural growth in the 12th Plan period.

The growth in the sector for the current plan period was estimated at 3.28 per cent against the target of four per cent.

The survey estimated agricultural growth for the current fiscal to be a mere 2.5 per cent, but called for improvement in yield to overcome the constraint of depleting areas under food-grain cultivation.

It also recommended sufficient safeguards for land laws for leasing and create possibilities for pooling of landholdings that would ensure farm mechanization and more productive income from farming operations, apart from creation of rural infrastructure and irrigation facilities and investment in research and development.

Noting the significant investment gaps in post-harvest infrastructure, the survey stated the need to encourage organized trade in agriculture and Foreign Direct Investment in multi-brand retail, which, once implemented, could be “effectively leveraged” to overcome the constraint in marketing.

It also noted that some state governments have granted licenses to the private sector to set up markets and allowed direct purchase from the farmers to provide alternative marketing channels.

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