67% of the people of our country depend on agriculture
for their livelihood. However, agricultural markets have not been able to give the farmers
the best chance to get a fair market price in an open process. In states like Punjab and
Haryana, there are relatively well-developed markets. The result is a much higher level of
productivity and prosperity in agriculture.
Though Andhra Pradesh is a predominantly agricultural
State, our agricultural markets are poorly developed. Most farmers do not have direct
access to markets. They have to depend on local village traders who are their only source
of market information, apart from being the only buyers of their products. The many
confusing and complicated control orders and movement and trading restrictions on
agricultural products make the situation even more difficult.
In Telengana area, agricultural marketing has been
traditionally better organised. Many markets have been functioning for a long time with
some degree of effectiveness. In coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema districts the market yards
are in a deplorable condition. Often the licensed commission agents who are supposed to
help the farmer get the best price by selling at a time and a place most advantageous to
him, are themselves the buyers in Andhra area. Obviously, the commission agent gets the
best price for himself at the cost of the farmer.
No role for stake-holders:
8 farmers nominated by government
2 traders nominated by government
One person from cooperatives nominated by government
Head of the local body
The term of office is 3 years, and may be extended by
government for one more year
Of the members, government shall appoint one as chairman
and another as vice chairman.
As cab be see, the AMC is a creation of government and
all nominations have become acts of political patronage to loyal party men. There is no
election from among stake-holders, and farmers have no voice deciding how to run a market
which deals with what they have produced.
Whenever a farmer sells any of his produce
farm produce or livestock 2% of the sale price shall be paid as market fee. The
farmer must pay this fee whether or not the sale took place in the market yard. Even if
the sale is in his own village, he still has to pay the fee, provided it is a notified
The fee is to be paid as follows:
By the purchaser
If the purchaser cannot be identified, then the seller
shall pay it.
All produce taken out of notified market area is deemed
to have been sold and fee shall be paid.
The fee is payable for only one transaction and not on
subsequent ones in the same market area
Seller has the duty to identify the buyer or pay the fee
A licensed commission agent is authorised to collect fee
from a purchaser and remit it to the AMC
If fee is paid on the AMC area, and later sold in another
AMC area, the fee shall be paid again in the second area and so on.
On tobacco no fee is livable ever since Tobacco Board
came into existence.
As can been seen, the AMCs, nominated by the government,
and not elected by the farmers, have the powers to levy a market fee. The fee has to be
paid whether or not the facilities of the market are used by the farmers.
According to law, market fee shall be utilized only for
establishment, development and improvement of the market and for purposes related to
helping the farmers. However over the years, since there is no role for farmers in the
management of their own markets, the market fee has often not been utilized for the
benefit of farmers.
The following are some of the collections of market fee
and expenditure in Andhra Pradesh. The figures given are those presented by the
Income in Expenditure in
These amounts are kept under government control in the
state treasury. Therefore, the interest on these amounts is not taken into account. If we
make allowance for interest, market fee unspent and lying at the disposal of the
government treasury would be about Rs.1000 crores.
Since farmers are not involved, even in instances where
the amount is spent, it is often spent in a wasteful manner or is misused.
The following are some of the date on AMCs.
No. of AMCs :282
No. of Markets : 834
No. of licensed traders :50,000(A,B,C & D categories)
No. of Markets under : 70 Officials directly
No. under nominated management : 212
Market fee payable :2%
Commission payable on perishable commodities : 4%
Commission on other products :2%
If any person defaults on payment of market fee, or
violates the conditions for trading licence, he has to pay a fine of Rs.5000 and an
additional fine of Rs.500 per day of continuing contravention and also sentenced to
imprisonment of 3 months. The AMC can drop action against defaulters if the fee is paid
with a penalty
The prevailing situation amply shows that the present law
has not improved the markets or made marketing of agricultural products any better. In
fact, the conditions in many market yards are deplorable. In case of vegetable and fruit
market yards are deplorable. In case of vegetable and fruit markets, for instance, both
farmers and consumers feel cheated. The infrastructure is deplorable and there is neither
proper storage nor decent roads for transport. And yet monies which should have gone to
farmers if they are not collected as market fee lie unspent. Farmers continue to suffer
extortion and receive payment well below market price.
You as farmer should assert your rights collectively and
work for your role in running your markets. Under the present law, you should ensure that
the nominated AMCs and officials actually use the funds for farmers' advantage. You should
insist on transparency and full knowledge of fee received, names and details of licenced
traders operating, commission agents etc.,
You should insist on a fair law giving you the
true stake-holder in the market a real role in the management of the market, as
long as a remote government at the state level has all the power and no responsibility or
stakes, markets will continue to languish and suffer. You have a duty to yourself and you
should work for true empowerment and genuine democracy. People who have no interest in the
future of your market yard, or have no stakes in the price you may or may not get, should
have no role in deciding how to run your market with the fee collected from you.
You should organize as stake-holders with other farmers
and work for a law which gives you the full responsibility and adequate authority to run
your market yard. If you need any information and help, please contact Lok Satta for
guidance and support.
"Give me liberty to know, to utter and to argue
freely according to conscience, above all liberties".