The Centre today urged more states to abolish the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act and frame policies to allow contract farming, which will enable farmers to work with food processing companies directly.
"The state governments play a very important role in abolishing the APMC Act. It is a state subject. Since many states have changed their policies, I appeal to all the states to come up with some policies where farmers are allowed to work with the processing industry so that they too get an opportunity to get assured lifting of their crop," Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union minister for food processing, said at an event of the Bharat Chamber of Commerce here today.
The minister said urgent steps were required to beef up the processing industry to curb wastage and tame inflation.
Sixteen states, including Punjab, have done away with the act, helping farmers to reap the benefits by getting the due price for their crop by weeding out the middlemen.
Badal said a special corpus of Rs 2,000 crore has been set aside in Nabard to give interest rates at a concession to the food processing industry.
The Bengal government, too, had toyed with the idea of amending the APMC Act while maintaining a firm stand against contract farming.
Bengal food processing minister Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury, who was also present at the event, said different departments and heads of the state government will chalk out a plan.
Badal raised concerns on the challenges faced in per acre yield. With the Indian population growing at the rate of 1.5 per cent a day, consumption is expected to treble by 2030.
"We are barely processing 10 per cent of all that is produced. In wheat, the best global yield per acre is 12 tonnes per hectare while it is only 3 tonnes per hectare in India. In rice, global yield is 10 tonnes per acre. It is 4 tonnes per hectare in India," she said.