India to let farmers sell produce directly to traders, retailers
New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared an ordinance to amend the 60-year old Essential Commodities Act which would enable farmers to sell their produce at better prices and to larger spectrum of buyers, apart from the purview of mandis.
The amendment deregulated essential food items like onions, potatoes, cereals and pulses. Under it stock limit will also be imposed under exceptional circumstances like national calamities.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said that the decision would help raise farmers’ income.
The amendment will also help create a legal framework to provide price assurance to farmers.
It is in line with the NDA government’s move to double farmers’ income by 2022.
This proposal was part of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, which was announced by the Prime Minister last month, to combat the ill effects caused to the economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cabinet also approved ‘The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020’ to ensure barrier free trade in agriculture produce.
‘The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020’ to empower farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers and exporters, was also approved by the Cabinet.
The proposed amendment to the Essential Commodities Act will allay fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference, Mr Tomar said.
The agriculture minister further informed that ‘The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020’ will promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations.
“This is a historic-step in unlocking the vastly regulated agricultural markets in the country,” he said.
Mr Tomar further said that the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020’ will empower farmers for engaging with processors, aggregators, large retailers, and exporters on their own terms.