Agri Business

Measures announced are for long term, will not address present woes: Experts

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 15, 2020

Some of the measures that should have come in the normal course are being portrayed as part of special package for boosting agriculture during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the immediate need is to put some money in the hands of farmers, said agricultural expert Devinder Sharma on Friday.

All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the largest organisation for farmers and farm workers in the country, described the package on agriculture announced by the Finance Minister Nirmal Sitharaman as yet another great betrayal of peasantry.

AIKS’ demands

The government ignored the demands of peasantry for immediate provision of ₹7,500 per month to peasant and agriculture workers households, comprehensive loan waiver, assured procurement at MSP at C2+50 per cent for all crops and 200 days of work under MGNREGS with ₹300 daily wage as well as free ration and essentials till the lockdown is over, AIKS said.

Sharma said the government has done nothing to address the liquidity concerns of farmers so far apart from front-loading the PM-Kisan instalment of ₹2,000 (announced in April), which was rightfully theirs.

“In my opinion, as a first step it should give a sum of ₹10,000 to all farmers, including tenant farmers, considering the kind of losses they had to endure. Across most agricultural sectors such as horticulture, plantation crops, floriculture, poultry and dairy, farmers suffered huge losses during disruptions in supply chains due to the lockdown,” Sharma said.

Post-harvest losses

Amith Agarwal, CEO and co-founder of AgriBazar, an agritech marketplace, said the ₹1-lakh crore fund for farm-gate infrastructure “will significantly contribute towards mitigating post-harvest losses and wastage by giving a fillip to scientific storage facilities and also, help the small farmers earn additional income by way of value-added agri-produce.”

“This is a good development considering the huge amount of post-harvest losses that occur. The success however, depends on good execution of the intent. This will assure regular and quality supply of the raw materials to the agro-processing industry, resulting in better realisation for the farmers as well as offering wide-ranging food products to the consumers,” said Simon George, President Cargill India, in a statement.

Published on May 15, 2020

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