Although some political parties, farmer organizations, and leaders may stand against the Central Agricultural Bills, the truth is that the flaws of the present mandi laid the foundation for this. The principles on which the mandis were set up for the benefit of farmers, began to become distorted with changing times. If the Price Assurance and Agricultural Services Bill and the Agricultural Produce Trade and Commerce Bill and the Essential Commodities Amendment Bill land properly, then the market will run on the condition of farmers and not on the condition of stockholders.
Mandi had three bases. The agricultural yield was bid in the open, making the maximum bid the basis of price. But the situation deteriorated so much that farmer was dependent on a cartel of some factions in the mandis. The earlier relationship of trust and credibility between farmer and mandi agent was lost.
The second premise was the guarantee of the payment of the bid price. The quality of the yield is out of the equation now. Most of the time agents bargain with farmers claiming due to low demand their yield cannot be sold in the market. Such excuses forced farmers to sell the produce on the price lower than the bid price to agents. Instead of paying instantly to farmers for their yield agents delay payments according to their terms and conditions. Farmers gradually become more dependent on mandi agents.
Third, the weight of the agriculture produce in the mandis was guaranteed. But the shortcomings increased so much that whatever the official weight, the agent tricks to find our dampness, garbage, and pebble in the yield to cut the final price by some percentage. The state governments, along with the Center, could not find an alternative even if they wanted to. But with the passage of the two major reforms of the agricultural sector under consideration in Parliament, avenues of private investment in agriculture will be opened. It is also an auspicious sign for improving the condition of 86 percent of small and marginal farmers of the country.
These small farmers, who are unable to reach the mandis, will also get good value for their produce, as private markets can reach their barns. These legal reforms in the agriculture sector are sure to attract private investors. The contract farming exemption allows private investors to come into production. Private companies, by contracting with small farmers’ groups, can produce as per their requirement and purchase at a predetermined price.
Small farmers will benefit the most from the guarantee of purchase of yield by private companies. The entire supply chain of the agriculture sector will make it easier for them from production to export. The agricultural business has been freed for this. Exemption from market provisions will provide relief to exporters, processors, and other large consumer companies. Substantial improvement will also be needed in the import-export policy of agricultural products. It is also being prepared.