Pune: On one side the Agricultural Market Produce Committees (APMC) were shut down and on the other hand supply chain was disrupted due to coronavirus pandemic. With subdued demand, farmers in the state faced the challenge of selling produce at unreasonably lower prices, but they opted for a smart way out. Over 3,500 farmers availed the mortgage loan against agricultural commodities and prevented their losses. Now when markets have reopened and supply chain is restoring, they are selling their commodities at a better price.
Sunil Pawar, Managing Director of Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB) said, "In the last three months, 3500 farmers through the 95 APMC's have kept a total of 1.5 lakh quintal commodities as mortgage and availed Rs 35 crore loan."
The MSAMB is the only board in the country which has implemented the commodity mortgage loan scheme for farmers. The success of this scheme, has prompted the central government to implement it across the nation.
Pawar said, "During the lockdown, the APMC's were closed. The domestic vehicular transport was also stopped initially due to which purchase and sale of agricultural commodities was hampered. Farmers were concerned about storage of their produce. The board convinced these farmers to keep their commodities on mortgage and avail a loan against it. Now the farmers are getting good price for their products when the markets and supply chain has been restored."
The commodity mortgage scheme grants a loan amount of 75 per cent of the total value of the agricultural commodities at an interest rate of 6 per cent for a tenure of six months. The commodities are stored at the godowns of warehouse corporation or market committees. If the market committee is short of funds to implement this scheme, the MSAMB gives them a fund of Rs 5 lakh.
Co-operative Minister Balasaheb Patil has also instructed the concerned officials to implement this scheme through the state cooperative bank and warehouse corporation on trial basis.