Agri Business

‘Agri laws allow farmers to invoke force majeure’

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Mar 19, 2021
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The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has said that the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 ensures that no recovery shall be made from the farmer if the default by the farmer is due to force majeure .

In a written reply to a question by Anand Sharma, Member of Parliament, in Rajya Sabha on Friday, Tomar said the Act stipulates that the farmers can enter into a written agreement to sell their produce even before sowing their crops which will guarantee them to get assured price of their crop or produce. Hence, it mitigates the risk for the farmers and enhances their income.

“Agreement will cover only the crops of the farmers and not the land, and hence the sale of land, lease or mortgage is completely prohibited. Farmer’s land is protected against any recovery,” he said.

Penalty against sponsor for non-payment may be extended to one-and-half times of amount due, the Minister , adding: “The farmer’s liability is being limited to the extent of advances given by the sponsor or cost of farm services provided to farmer by the sponsor. No recovery shall be made from the farmer if the default by the farmer is due to force majeure.”

Further, provision has been made for resolution of disputes through conciliation. In case of failure of conciliation, any party may approach the Sub-Divisional Authority for resolution of dispute as per prescribed procedure, he said.

The Act aims to protect and empower farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers and exporters etc. for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner.

Farming agreements cannot be entered, if they are in derogation of the rights of a share cropper. Thus the said Act strengthens the negotiating power of the farmers with regards to large buyers / corporate consumers while conducting transactions, he added.

Published on March 20, 2021

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