|by Anup Biswas|
Haflong : At a time when there has been protest against the new Farmer Bill, Rashmita Saikia, Programme Coordinator (I/C)Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Dima Hasao, Haflong claimed that this new Farmers Bill was putting the Farmers First by reforming Agriculture.
Saikia said Agriculture in India suffers from fragmented and insufficient markets with high market fees & charges, inadequate infrastructure and credit facilities, disparity between Agriculture & other sectors despite economic liberalisation, information asymmetry and restriction in licensing.
These are the major reason why agriculture in our country needs reform. With the introduction of Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and facilitation) Act, 2020 farmers will have the benefit of Freedom of Choice of sale & purchase of their produce at remunerative prices, efficient transparent and barrier free inter and intra-state trade and commerce outside physical premises of APMCs. APMCs will continue to function.
This Act provides farmers with additional marketing channels. There will be no bearing on MSP. With the introduction of this act Payment has to be made to farmers on the same day or within 3 working days where procedure so requires . This act also permits online trading. Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 provides farmers with Legal framework for agreements between farmers and sponsors for purchase of farming produce and provision of farm services entered into before harvest .
Guidelines for model farming agreements by Central Government will be covered in this act. Price of the produce will be clearly mentioned in the contract. This act also helps with clearly specified dispute resolution mechanism: Protecting rights of both farmers and buyers. The last act Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 will invoke only in an extraordinary situation like War, Famine, Extraordinary price rises and Natural calamities. Imposition of stock limits only be based on price rise and can only be imposed if there is 100% increase in retail price of horticultural produce and a 50% increase in the retail price of non-perishable produce.
Furthermore, the Farm reform will benefit single unified market. Farmers will have freedom to sell their produce to whom they want and where they want .This reform will end APMC cartel monopoly, MSP will continue to act as safety net for farmers. There will be legal framework protecting farmer rights, Reduction in market fees, taxes etc. and better price discovery, Development of infrastructure close to farm gate , Contract farming ( Form of price assurance and boost linkages with food processing sector. With this reform farming can become profitable even for small & marginal farmers). Procurement from farmers has increased. Compared with 2009-10 to 2013-14, MSP payment increased during last 5 years by 2.4 times for paddy (Rs. 4.95 lakh crores) ,75 times for pulses (Rs. 49,000 crores) ,10 times for oilseeds and copra ( Rs. 25,000 crores) , 1.77 times for wheat (Rs. 2.97 lakh crores) she added.