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Farmers Call for Stronger APMC Act, Urging Scrapping of Recent Amendments

Farmers’ associations believe that by improving the APMC, transparency in fair trade practices, and setting up support and infrastructure, farmers will benefit and Karnataka’s agriculture will grow.

Shivam Dwivedi
Farmers Call for Stronger APMC Act, Urging Scrapping of Recent Amendments (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Farmers Call for Stronger APMC Act, Urging Scrapping of Recent Amendments (Photo Source: Pixabay)

Karnataka farmers are demanding that the state government should bring a bill in the Assembly that would strengthen the APMCs by reversing the changes made by the government of the previous Karnataka.

Members of Karnataka's Rajya Raksha Sangha (RSS) and BKS (Bharat Samaj) met at APMC Yard, Belagavi, to discuss the current situation. They submitted a letter to the government asking it to bring the bill in the Assembly as soon as possible.

Prakash Kammaradi, former chairman of the Karnataka Agriculture Prices Commission, addressed the meeting and expressed his concern over the amendments made to the APMC Act. According to Kammaradi, these amendments have undermined the ability of farmers to negotiate collectively.

He explained that the previous APMC system fostered transparency and fair trade by eliminating middlemen. However, the recent changes have removed these provisions and even incentivized the establishment of private yards that engage in non-transparent methods of procurement and sales.

While acknowledging the presence of some systemic issues within the APMCs, such as the monopolization of the farm produce market by certain groups of traders, Kammaradi emphasized that transparency, vigilant farmers, government regulations, and empowering farmer produce organizations can help mitigate these problems.

He urged the state government to take necessary measures to eliminate cartels from APMCs, ensure fair and transparent bidding, weighing, and pricing processes, and provide essential infrastructure equipment to farmer produce organizations. Kammaradi also called for the creation of facilities at the village level for cleaning, grading, and storing food grains and other farm produce, enabling farmers to obtain loans by pledging their stocks and escape the clutches of moneylenders.

Furthermore, Kammaradi stressed the importance of guaranteeing the payment of minimum support prices in all offline and online farm produce trades, along with strict regulation. In a separate discussion on the public distribution system, he advocated for the inclusion of millets and local grains such as ragi, jowar, and parboiled rice in the distribution of grain scheme across various regions.

Kammaradi also urged the state government to utilize existing facilities, such as Raitha Samparka Kendras and other kiosks established by the Agriculture Department, to directly procure farm produce from farmers.

During the meeting, Sharada Gopal, a public health activist, highlighted the issue of malnutrition prevalent in rural poor families. Gopal supported the inclusion of nutritional grains and other food materials in the public distribution system as a means to combat this problem.

Another participant, Sidagouda Modagi, expressed his disappointment with the state government's decision to halt admissions to agriculture diploma courses. Modagi demanded the resumption of these courses, emphasizing their importance in benefiting rural poor students and the children of farmers.

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