Bill passed to open farm produce sector

Ahmedabad, Mar 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2007, 07:38am hrs
Jumping on the bandwagon of states implementing the model act for agriculture produce markets, the state government, on Thursday, passed the Gujarat Agriculture Produce Market (Amendment) Bill, 2007 in the state Assembly to amend the Gujarat Agriculture Produce Market Act, 1963.

The new amended act is expected to provide a boost to food processing industry, contract farming as well as provide more employment opportunities to the people. While tabling the amendment bill, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, state agriculture minister, pinned hopes that the model act would also expedite the implementation of various food processing sector projects worth Rs 11,000 crore, Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) which were signed during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit, 2007. Earlier, there were restrictions on the direct access to farm produce by middlemen such as oil millers and food processors.

However, the amendment has opened the doors to agro processors, private markets, corporate firms and exporters to directly deal with the farmers.

Contract farming has also been given a priority. Moreover, farmers would now be able to take their produce directly to ports, resulting in better prices and increase in foreign exchange reserves.

The amendments proposed by the state government would also pave the way for setting up private markets, special markets as well as industries to purchase agri produce directly.