The Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017 (APLM act) was introduced in India in April 2017 as a prospective replacement for the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, 2003.
To ensure fair pricing and increase accessibility for farmers, the proposed model law calls for the construction of a regulated wholesale agri-market every 80 miles. This statement uses a more formal tone to communicate the basic ideas of the APLM act.
APLM Act: Salient Features
- The APLM Act of 2017 eliminates the notion of a “notified market area” in the rules governing Agricultural Produce and Livestock Market Committees (APLMCs), which is intended to end market fragmentation within states and union territories.
- A Notified Market Area (NMA) is a defined geographic area that the state government designates where all transactions involving the buying, selling, or storage of agricultural produce are subject to regulation by the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act.
- The law encourages the disintermediation of the food supply chain and permits the free exchange of agricultural products, including cattle, fisheries, poultry, horticultural crops, and commercial commodities like cotton.
- The APLM Act of 2017 repeals the concept of a “notified market area” from the regulations governing Agricultural Produce and Livestock Market Committees (APLMCs), with the goal of reducing market fragmentation among states and union territories.
- The act fosters the disintermediation of the food supply chain and allows for the unrestricted trade of agricultural items including livestock, fish, poultry, horticulture crops, and commercial goods like cotton.
- In order to realize cost-effective transactions, provisions should be made for a single point of market fee collection throughout the State and a unified single trading license.
- The establishment of an interstate trade license, grading and standardization, and quality certification are all intended to advance the development of a national market for agricultural products.
- The act encourages the development of a national market for agricultural products by granting interstate trading licenses, grading and standardization, and quality certification.
- The act rationalizes market fees and commission costs and includes provisions for Special Commodity Market Yards and Market Yards of National Importance (MNI).
- Market Committees and State/UT Marketing Boards would be fully democratic thanks to this act.
APLM Act: Limitations
- One of the key limitations of the Model APLM Act, 2017 is its limited adoption by states.
- This results in a lack of uniformity in the regulation of agricultural markets across the country, hindering its ability to effectively address issues in agri-marketing.
- For instance, Maharashtra attempted to adopt the APLM Act but had to withdraw provisions due to a traders’ strike.
Flawed MSP Provisions:
- MSP implementation involves good procurement by the state and its agencies, as well as participation of regional organisations like PACS and producer businesses.
- MSP is a government programme that protects farmers against market price volatility.
- It is based on CACP recommendations that are made public by the government at the beginning of each sowing season for specific crops. The Act is heavily criticised for not clearly mentioning MSP.
- The Model APLM Act, 2017, only targets the marketing of agricultural products and livestock.
- The act’s effect on the full agricultural value chain is limited because other essential areas like storage, processing, and value addition are not covered.
- The act further ignores the fact that the dynamics of both marketplaces are diverse in terms of perishability, frequency, and character of transactions by merging farm produce and livestock into a single piece of law.
- A clause of the 2017 Model APLM Act charges the APLMC with stopping dealers from stockpiling produce.
- However, the Act makes no mention of how to implement this clause, which limits its utility and reduces it to a token effort.
Lack of Infrastructure:
- The insufficiency of the infrastructure required for the successful execution of the Model APLM Act, 2017, is one of its drawbacks.
- Included in this is the accessibility of necessary amenities like market yards, storage, and transportation facilities, which may not be sufficiently developed in rural and isolated areas of the nation.
APLM Act: Way Ahead
Expansion of Scope:
- It is essential to expand the Model APLM Act’s coverage in order to increase its efficacy.
- To do this, provisions must be included to the agricultural value chain that address important topics like storage, processing, and value addition.
- Furthermore, it is crucial to establish strong Minimum Support Prices (MSP) implementation procedures, include unambiguous restrictions that prohibit traders from storing agricultural output, and prevent traders from dumping agricultural products.
- The government must make significant investments in the construction of vital infrastructure, particularly in rural and distant areas, such as marketplace yards, warehouses, and transportation facilities.
- Farmers will be able to easily reach markets and transport their produce thanks to adequate infrastructure, which will also help the efficient operation of the agricultural supply chain.
- The Act has drawn criticism and controversy because its contents are not well understood.
- Additionally, a sizable percentage of the farming community is not familiar with legalese, therefore it is crucial to convey the Act in a straightforward manner that is understandable to everyone and upholds farmers’ rights.
e-NAM(Electronic National Agricultural Market):
- India’s fragmented agricultural markets have led to significant losses for farmers. Improving access to markets and strengthening the eNAM platform can help address this issue.
- It is advised that private players be encouraged to participate in the agricultural sector alongside farmer producer organisations (FPOs) in order to improve the sector’s performance in India.
- A good example to imitate is the Maharashtra model of integrating FPOs with the Apni Mandi idea, which offers consumer marketing channels for retail FPO production.