Amid lockdown, Gujarat farmers take to ‘work from home’

Ali Corbett

Function from residence is not always an selection for just white-collar workers. Farmers, who usually offer their crops by using an established provide chain via Agricultural Make Marketplace Committees (APMCs), now have the signifies to stay away from sector yards and offer their deliver from residence.

With virtually all the States imposing a lockdown to restrict the unfold of the coronavirus, most APMCs have downed the shutters, bringing commodity trading to a grinding halt. Nevertheless, farmers have held an selection open for them selves — with ‘off-market’ product sales or what they phone ‘sell-from-farm’.

Twin benefits

In Gujarat, producers of oilseeds, grains and spices are progressively turning to off-sector product sales. “This is a valuable proposition for us on two counts,” Ramesh Patel, a farmer from Visavadar taluka in Junagadh district, informed Businessline. “First, we really don’t incur transportation expenses. Second, we really don’t need to pay out fee and other labour costs that we usually do at the APMC.”

Off-sector product sales are not a new phenomenon, though. Professionals be aware that these kinds of a mechanism did exist earlier, with a significant quantity of crops having offered via that manner. “But what is vital to be aware right here is that the APMCs are closed at all key markets,” pointed out Vitthal Dudhatara, President of the Gujarat device of the Bhartiya Kisan Sangh. “Also, there are restrictions on motion. In a situation like this, farmers have no selection but to sit residence with their deliver lying on the discipline. As a result, far more and far more farmers are now resorting to this manner of trade mainly because they need income promptly so that by March-end they can repay their financial loan obligations.”

It’s peak harvest season for crops these kinds of as wheat, oilseeds and spices, and they need to be offered just before any climatic adversity strikes. “We are fearing unseasonal rains in the later on section of this week. This poses a risk to the harvested crop. So it is better that farmers offer the crops as early as possible,” reported Dudhatara.

How it works

The consumer — typically a trader or wholesaler — continues to be in touch with a broker or an agent from the village and gets an update about the readiness of the crop. As soon as the farmer informs the broker about his crop currently being completely ready for shipment, the trader is current and the price tag and other transport preparations are decided upon. The agent is paid by the trader, with the farmer not acquiring to shell out any income.

Patel, who has a 5-acre land and grows wheat, reported selling from the farm-gate is a successful proposition for him. For occasion, he reported, he recently offered wheat at ₹1,665 for every quintal from his farm-gate. “I bought at the very least ₹200 far more than what I would at the APMC. In addition to that I need not commit on transport from my farm to the APMC and no labour price tag is expected. So this provides me a increased revenue,” he reported.

The APMC cess — payable to the APMCs of the taluka — proceeds to be relevant to off-sector transactions, way too.

At a time when APMCs are closed and provide chains are disrupted, the off-sector product sales model provides a way out for farmers, who are usually the most susceptible to organic calamities and sector-driven fluctuations.

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