Traders and agriculture committee market unions across Maharashtra have decided to call off their plans for an indefinite agitation in protest against market committee reforms after a meeting held with the Maharashtra cooperation minister.
Currently, farmers in Maharashtra have to mandatorily sell their vegetables and fruits to traders licensed by agriculture produce marketing committees (APMC). The farm produce is then retailed by traders at designated APMC markets. The proposed move that would allow farmers to sell their produce to whoever they like did not go down well with traders and market committee union members, who gave a call for an indefinite agitation from June 8.
At a meeting held with Maharashtra cooperation minister Chandrakant Patil, traders and market committee members made it clear that while they are not against farmers directly selling to consumers on the street, they were not in favour of private retail chains taking advantage of the farmers. Maharashtra legislator Narendra Patil, who is also general secretary of Maharashtra Rajya Mathadi, transport, and General Kamgar Union, said all APMC trade unions across Maharashtra affiliated to the apex body said that several farmer cooperative bodies were already selling directly to consumers and there has been no opposition to this move. However, the government move to allow farmers to directly sell on the street would remove all control on the market and if traders end up cheating farmers, there would be no way of providing any succour to farmers, he said.
He said the minister had sought more time to study the issue and the next line of action would be decided after the government clarifies its stand on this issue.