AJIT SINGH ASKS STATES TO EXPEDITE AGRICULTURAL
TASK FORCE SET UP TO SUGGEST MEASURES
Union Agriculture Minister, Shri Ajit Singh, chaired a Conference
of the State Ministers on Agricultural Marketing Reforms here
today. In the Conference, issues relating to legal reforms for
promotion of competitive agricultural markets, direct marketing
and contract farming programmes, rationalization of market fee
structure, pledge financing and warehousing receipt system came
up for discussion. All the States were of the view that reforms
in the agricultural marketing sector were necessary to move away
from a regime of controls to one of regulation and competition.
The existing set up of market yards had failed to secure to the
farmers competitive prices for their produce. The emphasis was
more on regulation and collection of revenue and not the provision
of requisite facilities. In view of liberalization of trade and
emergence of global markets, it was necessary to promote development
of a competitive marketing infrastructure in the country. While
promoting the alternative marketing structure, however, Government
need to put in place adequate safeguards to avoid any exploitation
of farmers by the private trade and industries.
In order to integrate farm production with national and global
markets, many States considered it necessary to promote direct
marketing and contract farming programmes and to bring about professionalism
in the management of existing market yards and market fee structure.
To avoid distress sales by farmers, all the States agreed that
there was a necessity to substantially step up pledge financing
and also the need to introduce negotiable warehousing receipt
system for agricultural commodities. The Reserve Bank of India
needs to evolve simple guidelines in this regard. State Governments
also expressed the need for providing adequate banking facilities
and credit to support farmers as well as the agro-processing industries
in marketing of agricultural produce.
The States while appreciating the newly implemented Central Schemes
on ‘Cold Storage’ and ‘Rural Godown’, requested for further expansion
of these schemes during the Xth Plan period. The States also requested
the Central Government to announce a similar Scheme to promote
investments in the construction of new agricultural markets and
for strengthening and modernization of existing markets.
At the conclusion, Government decided to set up a Task Force
under the Chairmanship of Minister of State for Agriculture with
State Ministers In-charge of Agricultural Marketing from select
States to suggest legal, policy and financial measures to accelerate
implementation of reform measures in the agricultural marketing
sector, including a model law for the modern competitive agricultural
Shri Hukumdeo Narayan Yadav, Minister of State for Agriculture,
State Ministers, Lt. Governor and Administrators of Union Territory
Administration and Senior Officials from Government of India and
State Governments participated in this Conference.