Small and marginal farmers often lack proper market access to get a fair price for their produce because of their small marketable surplus and limited bargaining power. In addition, restriction on sale of produce outside regulated market yards limits market access further. Neglected rural markets, poor availability of regulated markets, long distances from production areas and inadequate infrastructure limit their ability to get a proper price for their produce. Other constraints confronting them include multiple intermediaries and exploitation by monopolistic licensees; lack of cleaning, grading, packaging and quality certification facilities; limited access to information on domestic and overseas markets and available marketing opportunities; and fragmented supply chain, poor cold storage facility and high post-harvest losses.
In Maharashtra, the Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) are having 294 main market yards and 612 sub market yards and all are functioning currently. But these functioning markets have a number of inadequacies in market facilities. For example, covered auction platforms exist in only 2/3rd of the regulated markets; traders module exists in about 60% of the markets; grading facility is available in less than a third of the markets; farmers resting facility is present in only half of the markets; and cold storage facilities are available in less than 10% of the markets.
The Government of Maharashtra (GoM), through its nodal agency for agriculture marketing, Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MASMB), has proposed to plan and implement the Maharashtra Agriculture Competitiveness project (MACP) and in this context has approached the World Bank for financial assistance.
The development objective of the proposed MACP is to foster the development of more competitive marketing systems; and improve market access for farmers and livestock producers through enhanced knowledge and more effective producer organizations. It has two major project components:
- Expanding market infrastructure and increasing farmers’ access to market opportunities
- Facilitating intensification and diversification