- The Union Cabinet decided to extend the Central Sector Scheme of financing facility under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to State agencies and Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMCs), as well as federations of cooperative organisations, Farmers Producers Organizations and self help groups, according to an official statement.
- They will now be eligible for interest subvention for loans up to ₹2 crore, with APMCs allowed to access separate loans for different kinds of infrastructure projects to build cold storage, silos, sorting, grading and assaying units in their market yards.
- APMC mandis will now be eligible to avail financial support from the Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund to expand the regulated markets’ capacity and provide better facilities to farmers, according to the agriculture ministry.
- The period of the financial facility has been extended by two additional years up to 2025-26, while the overall period of the scheme has been extended to 2032-33. “The modifications in the Scheme will help to achieve a multiplier effect in generating investments while ensuring that the benefits reach small and marginal farmers. The APMC markets are set up to provide market linkages and create an ecosystem of post-harvest public infrastructure open to all farmers,” said the statement.
APMC: Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) are the marketing boards established by the state governments in order to eliminate the exploitation incidences of the farmers by the intermediaries, where they are forced to sell their produce at extremely low prices. All the food produce must be brought to the market and sales are made through auction. The market place i.e, Mandi is set up in various places within the states. These markets geographically divide the state. Licenses are issued to the traders to operate within a market. The mall owners, wholesale traders, retail traders are not given permission to purchase the produce from the farmers directly.