The Goa Agriculture Produce Marketing (Development and Regulation) Act 2007, (Goa Agriculture Act) which was passed three years ago but is yet to be implemented, has now been modified by the government with some attractive features.The marketing rules of the Act are currently being worked out by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies and will soon be in place after which the Act will be implemented. Based on the model of the Central Agriculture Act, The Goa Agriculture Act is designed to open up opportunities for Goan farmers, to lure investments, increase farm productivity and to prevent depletion of natural resources.
The main feature of the Goa Agriculture Act is that it invites private parties to establish a market yard after obtaining the approval and licence from The Goa State Agricultural and Marketing Board.
Among the latest additions to the Act is contract farming. It invites major investors wishing to foray in the agriculture and farming business. After registering with the Marketing Board, the investor will receive the contract farming sponsor agreement. He will be allowed to fix market rates for farmers’ products at current prices. All deals and agreements will be recorded with the officer authorised by the Marketing Board.
The agricultural products produced in Goa, which are covered by the contract agreement, may be sold to the contract farming sponsors outside the market area, which will be free from market levies. The main feature of contract farming is that no titles, no rights of ownership or possession are transferable or alienated to the sponsor.
Implementation of contract farming, which has a legal protection in the Act, is expected to bring fallow land under cultivation. A legal officer will be appointed by the Marketing Board to thwart any disputes arising. The term of the contract farming agreement will be for five years. Contract farming is expected to bring fragmented cultivable lands together as one big mass of land, said a senior Goa State Horticultural Corporation officer. He said Goa’s cultivable landscape is changing and is affecting agriculture production. If the fragmented lands are leased out to the sponsor or to self help groups it will correct the differences among land owners, who are mostly divided over the use of the family land, and at the same time protect the owners’ rights and bring them income, said GSHCL managing director, Mr Orlando Rodrigues.
The Act will be implemented by the Goa State Agricultural Marketing Board and it will provide the direction and general guidelines for its implementation. The Goa State Agricultural Marketing Board has been authorised to issue licence for the establishment of a private yard and to purchase agriculture products directly from farmers. The purpose of the yard will be for processing, trade, grading, packaging and export.
The Act encourages the establishment of a consumer farmer market society by developing infrastructure and the farmers can sell their produce directly to consumers. Both will benefit as there will not be any middle man. As the prices will be very competitive the consumers will be allotted limited amount of the agriculture produce to deter them from selling it to other markets. It is a win-win situation for both farmers and consumers. Farmers will get maximum returns whereas consumers will get a better price.