Private markets in Maharashtra will now have to upload their daily sales reports on the website of the State Marketing Directorate, failing which they stand to lose their licences.
A decision to this effect was taken at a recent meeting of the stakeholders with the marketing directorate. Confirming this development, AL Gholkar, joint director, Marketing, State Marketing Directorate told FE that uploading the daily sales information is one of the pre-conditions when the licences are granted to such markets.
Maharashtra now has 57 private markets, he said, adding that although these markets are slowly beginning to find their feet, it was noticed that several such markets did not upload any information. An in-built software now ensures that notices are automatically sent to such markets in the event of their failure to upload their daily reports within a period of 15 days, he said. Around 307 Agriculture Produce Market Committees and 57 private markets will henceforth have to upload daily reports online. The markets will have to upload information on the commodities that have been brought in for sale, daily market prices and the sales concluded for the day.
Senior officials said that this would also make it easier for the farmers to decide if they wished to sell their produce in these markets based on the market prices. The meeting was also called to collect financial information from these markets to mark the end of the fiscal.
At present, around 250 market committees upload information on a daily basis online. The turnover of private markets has gone up from `1,500 crore to `5,000 crore for the financial year 2018-19.
Although Maharashtra encouraged private markets, the state marketing directorate had no direct hold over such markets since the information was not available. The directorate therefore has begun taking steps to monitor the functioning of these markets. These were meant to overcome the monopoly of agriculture produce market committees and bring in professionalism in the functioning of such markets. There are a total of 307 agriculture growth trading yards and 600 sub-yards as compared to barely 57 private markets in the state. APMCs have been in existence for over 50 years while private markets are new to the state since the last 5 years.
The private markets deal in most commodities including soybean, maize, pulses and foodgrains. The Directorate has now approached the state government seeking creation of branches at the district and taluka levels for establishing ground level framework for this purpose.
Gholkar said the Directorate has sought additional staff of 10 people at the district level so that they could monitor operations and also promote the concept of private markets and direct marketing licences. The Marketing Directorate currently only has a head office and daily operations are taken care of by District Deputy Registrars for whom this is an additional charge and therefore not a priority.
Farmers also are not aware that such options exist and they can go to private markets to get better prices, he added.
The state has issued licences for 57 private markets, 1,000 direct marketing licences and 35 single licence holders, Gholkar said. If the government agrees to expand the scope of direct marketing, agriculture marketing in the state can get the required push, he added.