Prime minister Modi plans to take agricultural income to double its present level by It sounds so exciting to hear such grandiose thinking. But how can it be achieved in just about four years? NITI Ayog has come out with its set of policy revamps to achieve this objective. Keeping aside all other problems, how will the glut resulting from high production be managed? Where is the buying power of the consumers to consume so much produce. Export is a possibility, but in most commodities, Indian farmers will find themselves utpriced by other countries.
Will enhanced production lead to more acute farm sector distress and more farmer suicides? Keeping aside the cynicism, let us examine the many issues that plague the agricultural sector today and how to address them. All these initiatives did bring some benefit, but appear to have lost much of their steam. Falling commodity prices —The trauma of Well, this is for the planners and the statisticians.
What hurt the farmers hard was the falling prices of Kharif crops like maize, arhar, moong, urad, soyabeen and cotton.
The farmer, driven to distress sale due to sliding prices at the mandis, just managed to recover the input costs. The fall in income has broken their will and confidence in farming.
Policy flip-flop by the government in was largely to blame for this sad situatin. The government initially aggressively pushed the farmers to grow more pulses through policy pronouncements and announcement of higher MSP for pulses. When to bumper harvest reached the market, prices began to fall. Instead of mopping up the surplus crop through brisk buying, the government pegged its procurement of pulses at 2 million tons, way below the 20 million tons of stocks on offer.
An inept government mechanism exacerbated the plight of the farmers saddled with unsold commodities and overdue loans. Curiously, even when the country had so much of pulses, the government allowed imports of the item. Some six million tons of pulses entered the market through this route. The government did curb imports as the Kharif crop of was ripening, but the move was too late. The hike in import duty on soyabean was direly needed to protect the domestic growers from cheaper soyabean prices in the international market.
The first hike of import duty to But, the hike was not enough, and the growers found it hard to get a lucrative price for their harvest. Expecting no reprieve from the government, they sold off all their stock by October. Pricing pressure posed by unbridled imports broke their backbones. The traders, the horders, and the middlemen enriched themselves at the cost of the toiling farmers. The Rabi crop of will enter the market in a few weeks. Although announced in December, it does not seem to have made any dent on market prices.
What can be done to address this recurring crisis? The quick-fix solution to the quagmire is often assumed to be recourse to MSP. But, MSP is a deeply flawed tool to address farm sector woes. At best, it can work like a palliative for the farmer who has the debt-collector at the door, and a sick wife needing costly medical care.
Implementing MSP for all crops across the country is a logistical challenge, and poses an awesome burden on the exchequer.
Food has to be bought at high prices, held for some months, before it is sold at very low prices. The problem returns for the next season. Buy at high prices, sell at low prices, collect the shortfall through taxes. It is time, we think of doing away with this expedient solution. On the face of it, it looks like a modern day solution to an age-old malaise.
However, the progress so far towards a pan-India roll out of this scheme has been very patchy. Apart from this, we all know that all agri products come in various sizes, grades, and looks. For a buyer to bid, he must inspect the item he intends to buy. In other words, a buyer in Nagaland has to come and see the mangoes being grown and offered in Tamil Nadu. Even if we get around this problem through electronically generated photos and quality certificates, how do we quickly move the stock from state to state?
But, all is not gloomy in this front. Already 14 states and some mandis have come under the eNAM umbrella. What the government needs to do now is to bolster the e-NAM network through legislation and more funding. Crop failures — another danger the farmer has to grapple with.. Pest invasion, drought, inability to buy fertilizers, and climatic aberrations— all collectively hamper good harvest. Drought is a phenomenon on which man has no control, but covering all arable land under irrigation is not.
If the canals run dry, the farmer can switch to drip irrigation, dig his own well, or cultivate crops that need much less water. What are the rules of Essay contest? The essay should be sent in the word format with 14 font size.
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