Apropos of the column “Beating down food inflation” (FE, June 17), there is a move to bring in amendments to the APMC Act, de-listing fruits and vegetables, in view of the untamed price levels. The mandi is a legacy from the era of the colonial English trader. The traditional Indian moneylender took over control of these when the British left, as he found the turnover of investment here safer and faster than usury. With money came political clout and it was easy for this coterie to manipulate exclusivity through the likes of APMC. As urban areas exploded, their peripheral farmer was displaced away from the epicentre of mass demand as also from water sources that were commandeered for the city. The hapless farmer was forced to look up to someone who would meet his needs of transport, ready cash and prompt offtake of produce in the absence of adjacent storage facilities. The wholesalers provided him all this and extracted his cost from both the producer and consumer. Without him a farmer would be handicapped on all three counts. The end consumer in the city would like to see his vegetable spread at dinner come cheaper but merely de-listing fruits and vegetables from APMC Act, even if states are willing, do not take away the basic logistics that the distant farmer will continue to contend with. Setting up self-contained farmers Kibbutz at well-suited locations across the nation is one sensible way to profitably bridge centres of production and demand and cut on waste and delay. This will take time and needs planning, funds and earnestness. Let us see the larger picture and hasten slowly.
R Narayanan, Ghaziabad