Maharashtra growers sold 136,615 tons of fruits and vegetables directly to consumers between March 27 and June 30. This means that thousands of farmers in have sold a whopping amount of produce directly to consumers in the city during the lockdown, avoiding middlemen.
Agriculture experts have welcomed the trend. In total, 3,790 farmers' groups participated in this direct sale. There were 3,212 centres opened by district/ local authorities to facilitate their sale. Until now, farmers used to send their agriculture produce to APMC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee), from where retailers or wholesalers would buy them.
In 2016, the central government denotified fruits and vegetables from APMC Act. But since then, the lockdown provided the first opportunity to the farmers to sell their produce directly. Kisan Mulay, director, ATMA, said, "We have given special passes to these farmers to help them transport the produce in the lockdown. In some cities we have given them space to sell as well."
Dada Bhuse, agriculture minister, is planning to extend this system with existing housing societies. Calling the move 'phenomenal', Milind Akre, managing director of Maharashtra Co-operative Development Corporation Ltd said farmers need to now focus on good packaging, labeling and grading.