There seems to be little response to the advertisements issued by the Agriculture Produce Market Committees in Nashik for fresh trading licences. The response has been lukewarm in other mandis as well, according to reports.
Onion traders in Lasalgaon and other 14 markets had surrendered their licences a few days ago and stopped trading from July 9 in protest against the state government’s decision to reform APMCs. The new law delisted fruits and vegetables from the purview of APMC Act and also permitted to levy commission from buyers, or retail traders, instead of farmers. No onion auction has taken place in the district for the last 10 days.
According to Jaydutta Holkar, chairman of Lasalgaon APMC, enquiries have started coming in as a response to the advertisement floated by the market committee for issuing fresh licences. Other market committees, however, have a different story to tell. Dilip Bankar, chairman of Pimpalgaon Baswant APMC, the second-largest onion trading market in Nashik after Lasalgaon, said they have been inviting traders for taking up new licences but there have been no response so far.
“We have been holding meetings with traders and assuring them that their issues will be taken up with the government. We have issued advertisements as well but not a single response has come in so far,” he said. The Pimpalgaon Baswant APMC officials held a meeting with tomato and pomegranate traders on Thursday. “The traders have agreed to begin auction at the pomegranate market and we have another 15 days for the tomato harvest to come in. We are hopeful of convincing tomato traders to commence auctions as well,” Bankar said. Dnyaneshwar Khairnar, secretary of Yeola APMC in Nashik district, said they are waiting for the outcome of the traders’ meeting to be held at Chandwad on Friday and would take a decision soon. “Subject to the response of traders, we shall issue advertisements for new licenses,” he said, adding that he did not expect much to come out of it.
The scale of trading in Nashik is huge and getting 5-10 traders to commence auction is not going to help farmers since they lack national reach and the monetary capacity as well, he said. Khairnar expressed concern that the produce with farmers have begun rotting and the traders are not ready to come forward, resulting in a deadlock. “We have little hopes but to wait for the new notification by the government on August 6. During the recent meeting between ministers and a delegation of market committee officials in Mumbai, some changes have been promised by the government in the new notification, he said. The government has also assured a visit to the Nashik market committees to understand our issues, he said.
However, Sohanlal Bhandari, president of Nashik District Traders Association, denied reports of any meeting by the traders at Chandwad on Friday and the market committees were free to take decisions. Nandkumar Daga, president of Lasalgaon Onion Merchants Association, has been maintaining that the government was free to take these steps since the traders had decided to stay away from the APMC. The whole issue is about the commission amount, he said.
Lasalgaon is the largest wholesale onion market in the country. The trading class here is very large and they are active in global as well as national markets. Maharashtra contributes 40% of total onion production in the country and Nashik supplies 80% of total onion production in the state.