Lucknow / Feb 20, 2021
The premier Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow will lend its management and technological wherewithal to the Uttar Pradesh government for the modernisation of agricultural mandis (markets) in the state.
There are about 250 government notified mandis in UP, which had collectively logged transactions valued at Rs 67,000 core in 2018-19 financial year.
The UP Agricultural Marketing Board (Mandi Parishad) meeting here chaired by state chief minister Yogi Adityanath recently okayed the proposal of engaging IIM Lucknow as the ‘knowledge partner’ to draft the roadmap of upgrading mandis and to increase their revenue.
Interestingly, the proposal to rope in IIM Lucknow to modernise the state mandis comes in the backdrop of the ongoing farm stir over the new central farm laws.
The Narendra Modi government at the Centre has claimed the new farm laws would provide an alternative and lucrative agri marketing channel to farmers in addition to the notified mandis operating under the respective Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act in the different states.
However, the protesting farmers and the opposition parties have alleged the new laws would weaken the mandi system and prove to be detrimental to the domestic farm sector in the long run by strengthening the stranglehold of the corporates in the farm procurement system.
According to UP Mandi Parishad director J P Singh, the modalities and terms of engagement would soon be finalised, which would allow IIM Lucknow to advise the Board for a professional fee.
“The IIM Lucknow has the advantage of having a full-fledged agribusiness management department. We will mutually decide upon the terms and conditions of the proposed engagement,” he said adding the revenue stream of the Mandi Parishad had been consistent over the last four years and it was standing on a solid foundation to move ahead now.
UP ranks among the country’s top agricultural and horticultural producers with its annual food grain production standing in excess of 50 million tonnes (MT). The bulk of the agricultural produce procurement and marketing in the state is transacted through these notified mandis.
Meanwhile, the UP Mandi Parishad has prepared a Budget of more than Rs 3,000 crore for the coming 2021-22 financial year, including Rs 800 crore as corpus and Rs 845 crore to be invested on the various ongoing and new projects for the modernisation and extension of the mandis.
The budgetary allocations also pertain to the working capital needs of the state for the procurement of wheat, paddy etc in the coming rabi and kharif marketing seasons. The Parishad will also spend funds for setting up warehouses, integrated pack houses, post harvest management etc to fortify the state mandi structure.
Yogi has asked the Parishad mandarins to equip mandis with the modern amenities for developing them as model farm markets for the benefit of the state farmers. He underlined the funds should be judiciously spent to make the mandis competitive in the current environment.
The state government is even planning to allow commercial development on the mandis’ properties to increase the earning of the different mandis.
Since, the UP government is targetting to double farm exports to more than Rs 35,000 crore by 2024, the modernisation plan of the mandis is expected to catalyse the sectoral roadmap by enriching the farm value chain and spurring the food processing industry in the state.
In 2018, the Adityanath government had approved amendment to the UP Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, 1964, thus allowing the operation of private mandis.
The amendment had allowed private companies to set up procurement centres outside the periphery of existing mandis for the direct purchase of farm produce from farmers. This was aimed at widening the procurement basket and providing more remunerative prices to farmers for their farm produce.