Agricultural trade in the country was severely hit on Tuesday with most of the 6,946 APMC mandis closed, even as the Bharat bandh called by farmers protesting against controversial farm laws remained totally peaceful across the country.
Samyukt Kisan Morcha, a coalition of 500 farmer organisations, which organised the bandh, claimed that over 50 lakh people assembled at 20,000 places across the country, making it a success.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah called the protesting farm leaders for discussion in the evening ahead of their talks with the ministerial committee comprising Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday.
The All India Motor Transport Congress said vehicles did not venture out till 3 pm. According to information available on Agmarknet, which tracks commodity prices in 3,356 mandis in the country, only 669 markets reported any trading till late evening.
Agricultural Marketing Board officials said that mandis in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan were closed completely. In Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, trading was lukewarm in a large number of mandis because of tepid arrivals or traders closing shops. However, most other economic activities in these States remained more or less unaffected.
In Gujarat, , some of the large APMC markets remained shut in Rajkot, Gondal, Jamnagar, Vadodara and parts of North Gujarat. Even in those which were open, the arrivals were affected. At Mahuva APMC in Bhavnagar, for instance, arrivals were less than half on Tuesday. Groundnut arrivals were reported at 1,587 bags (each of 50 kg) as against 5,120 bags a day before. Wheat arrivals were down to less than 10 per cent of normal arrivals.
In Madhya Pradesh too agricultural trade was impacted. Mandi officials said, “The trading activity was impacted because farmers voluntarily didn’t come to the mandi for trade.” In Telangana, many major mandis, including Adilabad, Nizamabad and Warangal, remained closed .
In Karnataka, only a little over a fourth of the 163 APMCs reported trading. Even in those 48 mandis that reported trading, market arrivals remained thin.
(With inputs from Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata Bureaus)