Gains elude farmers despite record output

2017-07-19     Source: indiatimes
Despite record production of food grains in 2016-17, farmers have not got remunerative prices, said agriculture ministerRadha Mohan Singh who added that the government was seized of the situation.

The minister said strengthening markets to reduce post-harvest losses would ensure farmers get good returns apart from them growing high-value crops, rearing livestock, and working inagroforestry, poultry and fisheries.

He also added that the state governments have been sent a three-year road map to double farmer’s income by 2022 which they should implement. “Food grain production touched a record of 273 million tonnes in 2016-17 crop year. It is true that farmers are not getting good returns even after this,” Singh said during a conference on smart agriculture marketing solutions to double the farmer’s income organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce.

Singh said strengthening market systems to reduce post-harvest losses would enable farmers to tide over both situations of bumper production leading to a glut and abrupt price fall and incidences of less production resulting in the availability of meagre marketable surplus.

The minister said under the National Agriculture market (e-NAM), 455 regulated market from 13 states have joined the scheme and the target was to connect 585 mandis by March 2018.

“These 585 mandis are less for 12 crore farmers in the country. Hence, we have come out with a model law on agricultural marketing. We are making speedy efforts,” he said, adding that with the consolidation of the mandis and integrating them to each other, there will be a total transition to online bidding and payments. “This will benefit the farmers and traders both,” he said.

ingh said the aim was to bring markets closer to the farms along with appropriate storage, grading and sorting facilities to reduce transportation costs, distress sale as well as the number of intermediaries so that farmers can get a larger share. The minister also said that the model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017 which was released to the states on April 24 this year has received a positive response regarding its adoption. The proposed Act seeks to double farmers’ income by 2022 and increase the number of regularised market by several times by allowing establishment of private markets that can be managed by individuals apart from direct sale by farmers to bulk buyers, and promotion of electronic trading.

The proposed Act suggests single point levy of a market fee and single registration or licence for trade in more than one market.

Other key features of the Act include direct marketing, or direct purchase of agricultural produce from farmers; consumer’s or farmer’s market to facilitate direct sale of agricultural produce to consumers; promote and permit e-trading; removal of provisions of essentiality of shop in market premises; and exclusion of fruits and vegetables from APMC Act.

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