In Maharashtra, coronavirus lockdown is reportedly helping farmers by removing middlemen

In Maharashtra, coronavirus lockdown is reportedly helping farmers by removing middlemen
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  • Farmers in Maharashtra have started selling directly to consumers, doing away with the middleman.
  • Due to the coronavirus lockdown, several mandis in Maharashtra have also shut down.
  • With limited functionality of the Agricultural Produce Market Committees, Maharashtra had earlier delisted fruits and vegetables from the APMC Act.
Factories have shut down, daily wage earners are out of jobs, trucks are parked on the roadside – the coronavirus lockdown has put a screeching halt to the way life functions for millions of Indians. But in the darkest times, farmers in Maharashtra have found light.

Maharashtra is one of the worst hit states due to coronavirus, with the number of cases having shot up to 781. With this, supply trucks have been affected, and mandis are shut. That has affected farmers, who are already troubled in the state due to drought, lack of irrigation and many more issues.

Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. Now, farmers’ groups in Maharashtra have started selling directly to people’s homes, doing away with the middleman. Without middlemen to take away a chunk of their share, farmers are getting what they always deserved - the right price for their produce.

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A report by The Founding Fuel says that farmers in the Satara district of Maharashtra are up and about. A group of 37-odd farmers have put their produce together and with blaring loudspeakers, they move from one locality to another selling vegetables directly to consumers.

It is not happening in Satara district only. Across the state, many such groups of local farmers have sprung up. With limited functionality of the Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMC), Maharashtra delisted fruits and vegetables from the APMC Act, which allowed farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers.

“Farmers can directly sell their produce to cash and carry retailers as several mandis are not opening,” consumer affairs secretary Pawan Kumar Agarwal said.

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This initiative could help the farmers of the state who have been working against many crises including drought, crop failures and piling debt. Between 2015 to 2018, over 15,000 farmers committed suicide in the state. In 2018, over 30,000 farmers in the state walked over 170 kilometres into the streets of Mumbai to voice their dissent against the agrarian crisis. The farmers demanded complete loan waiver and higher minimum support price (MSP).

Now as traders take a backseat, farmers are coming through with a long-pending action instead of merely seeking relief. Covid-19 has changed life and livelihoods in unexpected ways. As their challenges are now beyond control and a defunct supply chain, farmers decided to break away from it. Not only is this ensuring that essential supplies reach people, it is also ‘righting’ a lot of things wrong with the serpentine system of selling produce.

In this new method, nothing goes to waste - neither the perishable produce, nor the efforts of farmers.

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See Also:
India’s Covid-19 cases rise to 4861 and Maharashtra is the worst hit with 748 active cases
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