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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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Call to strengthen farm marketing strategy

L.N. Revathy

Coimbatore , May 30

FARM scientists are no longer confining their research to sustainable and pest resistant breeding techniques. They are today reorienting their focus to ensure the smooth flow of the produce from the farm gate to the end-user/consumer.

"There is an urgent need to reinforce our marketing strategy. Today, we will have to ensure the smooth flow of the produce at the right time and at competitive rates," Dr N. Raveendran, Director, Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development studies (CARDS), told Business Line.

He said the agricultural produce market committee, which regulates the buying and selling of farm produce, differed from State to State. While commission agents regulated/controlled the market in most States, in Tamil Nadu, the agents were not allowed inside the market.

(There are over 200 regulated markets in the State and a district level market committee in each district except Nilgiris. Market arrivals varied between zero and 80 per cent. But overall only about12 to 15 per cent of the total marketable surplus was being routed through regulated markets in Tamil Nadu.)

Hailing the TN model, he said: "In every other State, the farmer is compelled to pay the trader/agent a commission on the sale effected on his behalf. But by routing the produce through the regulated market, the farmer can save on the commission in Tamil Nadu. Cess levy though is unavoidable,"

He suggested doing away with the levy particularly for perishable items such as fruit, vegetables, egg etc.

"These products, however, may be `notified' for hassle-free collection of market information. Further, the crops that are being notified should be the same and not vary with states and cess exemption should be given for crops raised under contract farming and in agri-export zones," he said.

On cess levy, he said: "The amount paid in one regulated market should be made sufficient for transporting the commodity to any destination across the country. This will ensure smoother flow and transfer of commodities. Cess though, should be levied only on harvested agricultural produce and not on semi-processed and finished goods," he said.

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Call to strengthen farm marketing strategy

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