Exclusive: Intermediaries turn profiteers when MSP halts

www.indiatoday.in
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fairly easy
India Today investigation has uncovered that outside the government procurement window, it is very difficult for farmers to get the MSP for their crops as licensed commission agents offer them a raw deal.
As protests rage over farm reforms, an India Today investigation has found how licensed intermediaries in states even with strong mandi systems give a raw deal to the farmers in the off-procurement season, let alone bigger market forces.

The new legislation approved by parliament paves the way for the produce to be sold directly to institutional buyers, supermarket chains, and online grocers.

But farmers fear the move would eventually end assured prices from the MSP system. The central government insists it won't and says the new laws offer options to sell their harvest outside the regulated markets, such as in Punjab and Haryana.

WHO ARE ARHTIYAS IN GRAIN-BOWL STATES?

India Today's Special Investigation Team probed the arhtiyas -- the main legitimate link between farmers on the one side and procurement agencies/buyers on the other -- in the two grain-bowl states.

In this existing system, the arhtiya intermediaries receive a commission of 2.5 per cent, which Punjab and Haryana levy on the FCI and other buyers as part of state taxes on procurement.

HARD BARGAIN IN OFF-PROCUREMENT SEASON

In Punjab, India Today's undercover reporters posed as farmers trying to sell off their stocks from the previous…
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