Boosting farmers’ income to solve agrarian woes; debt waivers won’t help

By: and |
Updated: December 10, 2019 8:02:57 PM

Agrarian crisis in India has been one of the biggest talk points this year owing to incidents of farmer suicides, erratic rainfall patterns destroying crops and decreasing farm income.

agriculture, agriculture sector, farmersPolitical parties introduced sops like farm loan waivers but rather than handing out cash, boosting farm incomes can solve farmers’ problems.

Agrarian crisis in India has been one of the biggest talk points this year owing to incidents of farmer suicides, erratic rainfall patterns destroying crops and decreasing farm income which subsequently reflected on the rural consumption as well. So much so that areas directly related to farmer economy reported a slowdown that has been continuing for close to a year now. Political parties introduced sops like farm loan waivers but rather than handing out cash, boosting farm incomes can solve farmers’ problems and bring them out of distress, according to Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President of ICC India and Chairman of Sun Group. Speaking to Financial Express Online, he laid out immediate steps that can help fuel farmers’ earnings.

Watch | Full Interview with Vikramjit Singh Sahney: How to double farmers’ income

“Minimum Support Price scheme should be enhanced, enlarged to cover more items. If our farmers get 1.5 times the revenue of their cost of production, a lot of issues can be addressed. Debt waivers, writing cheques are populist measures. That will not solve the problems,” Vikramjit Singh Sahney said. Instead, he said that measures like direct subsidies to farmers and farmer support can be of great help. “Industry must be taken out of the subsidy. The subsidy should go to the consumer like farmer and MSP will surely help, if administered properly,” he added.

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Further, the government can also look into enhancing farmer knowledge on areas such as crop rotation, horticulture, and set up small cooperatives. There is also an underlying issue of food getting wasted due to lack of storage and preservation facilities. “We have to relate them [farmers] to food processing, food preservation as in India, about 70% gets wasted,” he said. The same is evident from the recent onion price hike as tonnes of onion produce got wasted due to flood and rotting. On the contrary, members of BRICS countries have reported that about 74% of the food is processed. The government has deployed several measures to preserve and process food but somehow the same has not caught up at the ground level. “The whole value chain link is still missing. We can unleash that potential,” Vikramjit Singh Sahney said.

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