Registration to be must for 3rd-party agri warehouses

The central government plans to make it mandatory for third-party warehouses that stock agricultural commodities to register with Warehousing Development Authority by amending the Warehousing (Development & Regulations) Act (WDRA).

The proposed amendment will encourage scientific warehousing ecosystems, thus helping farmers store their produce in scientific godowns, an official aware of the development told ET. It will also make it compulsory for warehouse operators to issue digitised negotiable warehouse receipts (NWR), making the system more transparent.

“Lending institutions like banks will have access to NWR repositories, thereby increasing ease of lending,” said the person cited above. “Farmers can pledge to get bank loans against their agri produce kept in warehouses.”

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More than 2,000 warehouses have so far been registered with the WDRA, the official added.

The proposed amendment will also strengthen Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority, giving it enforcement powers. The composition of the authority will also be increased to six from three.

While the government will start with registration of warehouses with capacity of 5,000 metric tonnes and above, it will later move on to bring under its purview all warehouses up to 100 metric tonnes capacity, thus bringing under its ambit a lot of warehouses at the farm gate and benefiting farmers directly, the official said.

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William Murphy

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