The government has announced the TOP Scheme similar to AMUL model to protect interests of both consumers and producers. What are the challenges in modeling the TOP scheme on the lines of AMUL model?
In the budget of 2018 the government had announced “Operation Green-TOP” with an allocation of Rs 500 crore to build value chains of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) on the lines of “Operation Flood” (AMUL model) for milk in such a way that will ensure a higher share of consumer’s rupee goes to farmers and stabilises their prices.
Why the AMUL model does not work for TOP?
The AMUL model involves a large scale of procurement of milk from farmers’ cooperatives, processing, storing of excess milk in skimmed milk powder form during the flush season and using it during the lean season, and distributing milk through an organised retail network. Milk does not pass through any APMC, involves no commissions, and farmers normally get 75-80 per cent of the consumer’s rupee.
But TOP is mainly traded in APMC markets, with layers of mandi fees and commissions. As a result of which farmers get less than one-third of the consumer’s rupee. According to the estimates of NABARD, the farmer’s share was found to be 32.1 per cent, 29.1 per cent and 26.6 per cent of a consumer’s rupee for TOP respectively. This cries for massive reforms in the APMC Act.
A large number of initiatives like e-mandi and TOP are suffering from one inherent disadvantage. i.e. rigidities due to the APMC act. Hence to be able to bring any constructive change in agricultural marketing and protecting the interests of consumers, the APMC reforms must be the first page in policymaking.