Amidst the cash crunch prevailing due to the government’s demonetisation move, farmers’ groups on Saturday demanded a series of measures including allowing farmers to buy fertiliser and pesticides using the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes till the end of December, directing the co-operative banks to exchange old notes for the new and ensuring higher cash availability at the agricultural mandis.
“We demand higher cash availability at the APMC markets as a percentage of a mandi trader’s weekly average turnover recorded in APMC books last fiscal to pay transporters. This will smoothen transportation of fruits and vegetables which was being hampered due to the cash supply crunch,” Ajay Vir Jakhar chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj, told FE. Jhakar added: “We demand all farm subsidies to be given directly to a cultivator’s account, irrespective of farm size calculated for a two-hectare farm, to bring about social equity.”
At the first pre-Budget consultative meeting held by finance minister Arun Jaitley with representatives of agriculture groups on Saturday, BD Rami Reddy, general secretary of the Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Association (CIFA) also requested that farmers be allowed to do cash transaction using old notes for buying agricultural inputs till December 30.
Meanwhile, at the meeting, Jaitley called for focus on higher agriculture productivity through use of the latest technology and high-yielding crop varieties to help double farmers’ income by 2022. He also said there is a need to revisit the incentive structure of farming, besides focusing on reducing wastage and improving marketing of farm produce.
Jaitley said that “in order to ensure future increases in agriculture output and double the farmers’ income by 2022, focus should be on higher agriculture productivity, especially in view of the limitation on expanding crop area”.