|Agricultural markets are key to ensuring higher farmer incomes, but in India, agricultural|
market reforms have been stuck for almost two decades as agriculture is a state subject. The
Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare (MoAFW) framed two new Acts on
agricultural produce wholesale markets and contract farming (besides amending the Essential
Commodities Act, 1955) in 2020 to allow and encourage new market channels in terms of
buying from or working directly with farmers. These were parallel to state governments
changing their APMC Acts, following the Model APMC Acts suggested by the Union MoAFW.
This paper assesses the rationale and benefits of the 2020 Acts, and their implications for
farmers and other stakeholders. It also examines the major provisions of the new Acts, i.e.
APMC mandi bypass Act, 2020, which creates a new trade area outside the purview of the
APMCs, and the Contract Farming Act, 2020, besides the amendments to these Union Acts by
the state government of Punjab (2020), as informed by research studies on various marketing
channels used by farmers and their experience of the same. The paper highlights some major
lacunae of the 2020 Acts, in the context of Punjab agriculture, and examines the utility of the
Punjab’s amendments to the Central Acts. The paper highlights the need for legal provisions to
protect smallholder interests and leverage new channels for their development.
Keywords: agricultural markets, reform, Punjab, small farmers, contract farming
India’s Agricultural Market Acts of 2020: Implications for (small) farmers with special reference to Punjab by Sukhpal Singh
– Click the PDF icon to view, right-click to save as.
Professor, CMA, IIMA, Ahmedabad