Lockdown impact: Maharashtra farmers dump vegetables and fruits in trash containers

Jannie Delucca

With the majority of Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMC) closed amid the lockdown, farmers in Maharashtra are dumping vegetables and fruits in garbage containers.

The State government had announced that the lockdown would not affect the transport and trade of agricultural commodities. But the closure of APMCs in Mumbai, Pune and other cities has left farmers in the lurch.

Farmers in south Maharashtra dumped their produce in garbage bins as they could not transport it to the Pune and Mumbai APMCs. Farmers’ organisations have demanded that the State government find a way to start APMC operations and also facilitate the selling of farmers’ goods in cities. If the State government is not in a position to open APMCs, then state agencies must purchase vegetables and fruits from farmers and supply them to the city markets, they added.

They have also insisted that the State must assess the loss incurred by

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If lockdown is lifted by early May, there would be enough time to prepare for kharif season: Jagadeesh Sunkad

Jannie Delucca

March, April and May are crucial months for preparation of the kharif season, which produces the largest quantity of foodgrains in the country. There is a fear in the market that the coronavirus pandemic has put a spanner in those preparations, especially for the seeds and agri-chemicals sectors. Senior agriculture consultant and thought-leader Jagadeesh Sunkad believes that if the lockdown is lifted by early May, there still would be enough time to prepare for the kharif season. Since the agriculture sector has already been exempted from the lockdown, the impact will not be devastating.

However, Sunkad, who has consulted for multi-lateral institution Asian Development Bank and Murugappa Group, believes that due to the pandemic, agricultural input and output supply chains, which are traditionally dominated by wealthy rural families, would get distributed. In the medium term of the next three to five seasons, their roles will diminish and new start-ups will

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