Market arrivals for potatoes and onions declined by 49.4% (see box). Total arrivals fell by 35%. The data compared market arrivals from March 25 to May 29, 2020, to the same period in 2019 when the nationwide lockdown was implemented.
Officials said transport to APMCs was impacted in the initial phases of the lockdown even as demand from traders fell and several key
APMCs were closed after Covid-19 cases were detected.
They also pointed out that since deregulation, besides APMCs, farmers have other options to sell their produce in the state.
“After the deregulation of APMCs, supplying to these markets is not mandatory. A large quantity of agricultural produce has gone directly from farmers to groups in cities,” said an official.
The data shows the least decline in foodgrains arrival (see box) because they are non-perishable and farmers could afford to wait. Also, several pulses can be sold to the government through a procurement scheme at a minimum support price.
“Farmers growing perishables were worst affected by the lockdown. Many had to discard their produce,” said Kisan Sabha’s Ajit Navale. “Although APMCs have been deregulated, most farmers do not have the network to directly supply to private individuals or groups in cities,” he said.
“In India, the most important outcome of supply chain disruptions was the sharp decline in the market arrival of crops,” said R Ramakumar, Nabard Chair of the School of Development Studies at TISS. “This was the combined result of the decline in private trade, shutting down of markets, shrinkage of retail trade and the different disorders felt in the supply networks. As a result, farmers suffered considerable economic losses,” he added.