Coronavirus: Decentralise supply chain of veggies, fruits, say experts

Coronavirus: Decentralise supply chain of veggies, fruits, say experts

Pune: All the main and sub-markets of vegetable and fruit in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) at Market Yard has been closed due to the lack of social distancing and overcrowding. This might result in a disruption of the supply chain of essential commodities. However, farmers and experts opine that there should be decentralisation of market and alternative channels so that the supply chain would not be affected.

Rohan Ursal, Secretary of Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Market Yard Association, said, “After the lockdown, we made certain arrangements like doing alternate days trading of vegetables and onions and potatoes with only 400 vehicles being allowed in the market. Even with the precaution, it became difficult to maintain social distancing. Also, the nearby areas that were sealed are home to many traders, and therefore, this decision was taken.”

Shriram Gadhave, President of Vegetable Growers Association of India, said that closure of the wholesale market might cause disruption in the supply chain and con¬sumers might feel the problem. He said, “Social distancing was always an issue at the wholesale market, and therefore, this decision was taken. However, it is important to have an alternative channel by connecting housing societies to the farmers so that the supply would be maintained in the urban areas.”

Yogesh Thorat, Managing Director of MahaFPC, said, “This sudden closure of wholesale market will create disturbance in the supply chain, and even the farmers would be affected as vegetables are perishable goods. This can also result in food inflation. Therefore, it is important to work upon decentralisation of market so that supply chain remains unaffected and social distancing can be maintained.”

Ajit Navale, General Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, Maharashtra, said, “Closing down the wholesale market without alternatives will be distressing for the farmers as they would suffer loss in the absence of a market. Even the consumers will face a problem due to the un¬availability of commodities.”

He added, “We have to understand that we have to maintain social distancing for the long run now. In this backdrop, the government needs to make alternative arrangement for the procurement and distribution of agricultural goods. This way, the supply chain will not be affected, and farmers and consumers, will not face issues.”

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