Govt creates new wing to modernise agri supply chain and logistics

The Agricultural ministry has created a cell to modernize the farm logistics and supply value chain.

This comes in line with the recent announcements of reforms in the sector by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The reforms include making amendments to the six-decade-old Essential Commodities Act and pushing two ordinances — freeing up farm trade from all restrictions and guaranteeing a legal framework for pre-agreed prices to farmers, an official informed, requesting anonymity.

As per the official the reforms cell will not only help coordinate efforts to streamline supply and transportation of farm produce but also aid projects to add value to primary farm goods for better prices to the farmers.

At the pan India level, 34% of fruits and 44.6% of vegetables do not reach the market and get spoiled due to lack of a seamless Agri supply chain and related infrastructure resulting in a total loss amounts of INR 63,000 crores for farmers on the pan India level.

The agriculture ministry is prepping up for the new challenges and making all preparations in the wake of the government’s decision to free agricultural markets of middlemen, who often take a sizeable cut of value from the produce sold.

The reforms cell will further look after a national mission of “One District One Crop” to boost crop diversity. And, play a key role, in the aftermath of changes such as amendments to The Essential Commodities Act of 1955, which are expected to bring investments in the cold storage and food supply chain.

“Farmers have been unable to get better prices due to lack of investment in cold storage, processing and export as the entrepreneurial spirit gets dampened due to hanging sword of Essential Commodities Act,” a recent official statement had stated.

The total requirement of refrigerated or temperature-controlled vehicles stands at 62,000 on the pan-India basis and approximately 10,000 such vehicles are available in India. Curbing the gap will lead to a seamless supply chain and wastages and losses of farmers.

Last week, the government promulgated ‘The Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020’.

The ordinance effectively brings down the curtains on the decades-old agricultural produce market committees’ regulations (APMC) system that regulates buying and selling of farm produce.

 “The agriculture ministry will facilitate through new initiatives that will help farmers take full advantage of the recent reforms,” the official said.

Ushered in during the 1960s, APMC regulations were meant to protect farmers from distress selling.

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