TN model 'raitara angala' to be reality in State

TN model 'raitara angala' to be reality in State

Govt decides not to heed Centre's advice to de-list vegetables and fruits to fight food inflation

TN model 'raitara angala' to be reality in State

The State government has decided not to go by the Union government’s advice to de-list vegetables and fruits from the list of notified commodities under the Karnataka Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act to fight food inflation and, instead, it wants to organise ‘raitara angala’ on the lines of neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

As part of its efforts to contain rising prices of essential commodities, the Centre had recently asked all the States to enable the farmers to sell price-sensitive vegetables and fruits directly to consumers in the open market by de-listing them from the Act. Currently, the farmers have to sell the notified produce at the APMC mandies.

Direct selling by the farmers, the Centre believes, will cut down middlemen cost and ensure win-win situation for both the producer and the consumer. The farmers normally sell their produce at APMCs through middlemen, who are widely believed to make huge profits.

Almost all notified commodities change many hands – it may be a middlemen buying in bulk and him later selling to a wholesaler, the wholesaler selling to a retailer at the market level and the retailer selling it to a small shop owner – before reaching the consumers. De-listing aims to eliminate all of them in one shot and ensure direct contact between the farmers and the consumers.

The decision on de-listing was taken recently at a meeting chaired by Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and attended by representatives of all State governments.

The meeting also decided to fix a cap on stocking onions and potatoes.
But the State government, it appears, does not believe that it would contain inflation. Vegetables and fruits are perishable commodities.

A farmer has very limited means to market the produce in the short time. If a farmer has, say, 10 bags of tomatoes, she/he can sell maximum of about two to three bags to consumers.

So the APMC mandies play an important role as the traders buy the entire produce, officials in the Karnataka State Agriculture Marketing department said on condition of not being quoted.

Karnataka has 155 major APMC mandies and 355 small rural APMC mandies. Of the total 92 notified commodities are fruits and vegetables, including onions and potatoes, in the State.

Direction to APMCs

Instead, the government has decided to adopt the Tamil Nadu model of organising ‘Raitara Angala’, wherein a space will be made available at APMCs for the farmers to sell their produce directly to the consumers.

Directions have been issued to all APMCs to implement it, the officials said.

However, sources said, the traders had been opposing the TN model tooth and nail. Though the State government brought an amendment to the APMC Act in March this year making a provision to organise ‘raitara angala,’ it has so far not taken off in any of the 510 APMCs in the State. It is feared that the traders would occupy the space meant for the farmers and thereby prevent direct selling.

When contacted, Minister for Agriculture Marketing and Horticulture Shamanur Shivashankarappa, however, said his department has not received any direction in this regard from the Centre.

Cap on stocking onion, potatoes soon

The State government has initiated steps to fix a cap on stocking onion and potatoes as per the Centre’s advice.

The State is most likely to fix two truckloads as maximum limit of stocking this politically-sensitive commodities. An official notification in this regard is likely to be issued in a few days.

When contacted, Commissioner for Food and Civil Supplies, Harsh Gupta, said onions and potatoes have been brought under the Essential Commodities Act in order to regulate their supply. Appropriate steps will be taken on fixing a cap on stocking them after holding consultation with the government, he added.

Appropriate decision will be taken after receiving the Centre’s letter in this regard, he added.

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