MSP does not do full justice to farmers? This is what they are demanding

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Published: September 23, 2017 3:14:21 AM

The Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Association says that the minimum support price (MSP) of the crops does not cover the cost of production of the agriculture produce to the full extent and, therefore, it does not do full justice to the farmers.

Consortium of Indian Farmers, MSP, Agriculture produceThe Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Association says that the minimum support price (MSP) of the crops does not cover the cost of production of the agriculture produce to the full extent and, therefore, it does not do full justice to the farmers. (Image: IE)

The Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Association says that the minimum support price (MSP) of the crops does not cover the cost of production of the agriculture produce to the full extent and, therefore, it does not do full justice to the farmers.  The association says that the constituted Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) does not have any constitutional base and, therefore, should be removed and replaced with an ‘agriculture tribunal’. Raghunathdada Patil, president of Shetkari Sangathana in Maharashtra, who was making a presentation for constitution of expert group related to agriculture and allied sectors for preparation of Development Agenda for New India@75, put forth this demand for the removal of CACP.

“I would like to highlight that the theory of negative subsidy to farmers is the cause of farmer suicides. It was first put forward by Sharad Joshi in front of economic experts of our country, which is also supported by a survey on the direction of the Bombay High Court bench, Nagpur, by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.  According to the TISS report, all crops are being cultivated at loss to cultivators which is 36% minimum to 50% at maximum. “Even though the prices declared by the CACP are not remunerative, they are not up to the cost of cultivation,” he said.  “It is observed in Punjab and Haryana that farmers go to mandi for sale of their cultivated wheat/paddy crops.

All crops are procured by the government agencies at the MSP but the payments are made to the market mediators (adhitiya) instead of farmers. Then, the adhitiya makes payments to farmers by cutting the interest and their advances at a very high rate (18% to 36% interest). This is causing huge loss to farmers in the said states which is a major reason for farmers’ suicides. There is a need to transfer the benefits of farmers directly to their respective bank accounts,” Patil said.  Another important thing is that whenever the prices of agricommodities in domestic market increase, the Centre will import agriculture commodities from abroad at very higher rates, he said.

“Agriculture commodities are controlled by the Essential Commodity Act 1955. Governments intervene into the agriculture market with the help of this Act. So, abolish the Act. There are several Acts and their amendments which are anti-farmer in nature. For example, Pet Animals Cruelty Act causes suffering to the farmers for using animals like bulls, cows, buffaloes,” he said. “Moreover, there are difficulties in transporting animals since police and government authorities put restrictions. Wild Animal Protection Act is also killing farmers. We cannot protect our lives, crops and farms.”“Newly-amended Anti-Cow Race Slaughter Act causes suffering to farmers. We cannot feed aged animals, which are not useful for farm activities or milk production.

So, it is a loss to our annual income. Farmers leave these animals in cities which lead to environmental hazards. So, we demand removal of these Acts,” he said.  Patil said that banning the GM seeds puts restrictions on importing latest seed technologies. Import of seeds or seed technology should be permitted freely.  “GM mustard developed by Indian scientists should be approved immediately. Quarantine Laboratories needs to be set up in all the states. For example, popcorn seeds are restricted and because of this restriction the prices of the seeds and popcorn maize are increasing. We are cultivating maize in mass quantity but because of these restrictions we cannot produce maize for popcorn. We are depending on imports from Argentina. Government should give freedom to choose new technologies to increase productivity and quality of agriculture produce,” he added.

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