Category: Production of foodgrain

Contract farming – enabling environment needed

In his budget speech [2017-18], finance minister, Arun Jaitley had announced union government’s decision to bring a model contract farming Act with the intent to protect farmers from price volatility by ensuring guaranteed price for their produce. As a follow up, a draft legislation has now been released for comments from stakeholders including farmers. The latter have been given 30 days to give their suggestions. Thereafter, a final`model’ contract farming Act is expected to be released in November after incorporating the suggestions. This will serve as a guide for states to bring required legislation. Because of the heavy dependence on rainfall [70% of the cultivated area is rain-fed and even for balance 30% under irrigation, rainfall is a crucial factor...
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Farmers need empowerment, not write-offs

When, prime minister, Modi during his high octane campaign in the run up to assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh [UP] promised loan waiver for farmers [albeit small and marginal/poor] in the state, he might not even have contemplated that state-after-states would be confronted with similar demands. In retrospect, this is precisely what has dawned on the political establishments particularly in states ruled by BJP viz. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana etc. The irony is that whereas, BJP had voluntarily made a commitment in a poll bound state, the demand for loan waiver has surged even in states where it was not a poll promise. Those states have been coerced in to granting waivers using the modus operandi of protests and demonstrations....
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INDIA’S PULSE DILEMMA

While the Government has done its bit to boost the output of pulses, it has done little to check the nexus between politicians and grain traders For several decades, production of pulses in India has fallen substantially short in terms of consumption. This persistent deficit has led to intermittent bouts of spike in prices as imports (needed to plug it) have often come after lag and have failed to reach consumption points in time — courtesy: Handling, storage and transportation bottlenecks. Pulses are an important source of nutrition, especially for vegetarians. It is also a critical component for the diet of the poor. This nutrition-poor link, which is juxtaposed with hike in price, has also been exploited by opposition parties...
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Unholy politician-trader nexus – behind farmers plight

For several decades, production of pulses in India has fallen substantially short of consumption. The persistent deficit has led to intermittent bouts of spike in their prices as imports [needed to plug it] have often come after lag and failed to reach consumption points in time – courtesy, handling, storage and transportation bottlenecks. The import of pulses in large quantity also resulted in huge outgo of foreign exchange exacerbating balance of payment problems especially during times when the macro-economic fundamentals were weak [for instance, during early 90s and 2012-13/2013-14]. This also affected the ability of the government to remain glued to the path of fiscal consolidation. Pulses are an important source of nutrition especially for vegetarians and a critical component...
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Yogi – Modi onslaught on poverty

The just concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh [UP] were fought in the backdrop of deteriorating law and order situation, hostile environment for investment, crumbling infrastructure [sans a few pockets in urban areas], widespread farmers distress, their high level of indebtedness and acute shortage of bare necessities viz. home, food, education, health, water and electricity. The poor investment climate and pathetic law and order discouraged industrialists and businessmen from setting up factories/shops even as existing establishments were facing closure. Together with farming being un-remunerative/losing proposition, this made a deadly cocktail leading to large-scale loss of jobs and in turn, migration of youth en mass to other states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat. Promises galore BJP led by Modi promised liberation...
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Government cap on GM tech royalty hurt the farmer; here’s how

The ministry’s decisions reflect a mindset that views MMBL as an exploitative monopoly. This perception is flawed and out of sync with ground realities Under CSPCO, the ministry fixed the price of cottonseed sales at an ‘uniform’ level and the maximum trait-fee payable to the technology-provider (TP). Given GM Bt cotton accounts for 98% total cottonseeds used in India, the decision was directed primarily at this segment. On July 6, 2016, Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech India (MMBL) withdrew its application for environment clearances for commercial cultivation of cottonseeds carrying its Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex (B-II-RRF) technology, which uses genes that not only kill pests but also imparts resistance to the herbicide, Roundup. MMBL has attributed its decision to the “uncertainty in...
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Agri ministry defies govt

While the intent of the government is to give a big push to commercialisation of GM crops, the agriculture ministry is against it. In December 2015, the Union Agriculture Ministry had issued a Cotton Seed Price Control Order under which it fixed the price of cotton seed sales all over the country at a uniform level and max trait fee (royalty) payable to the technology provider (TP). Given that the genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton accounts for 98% total cotton seeds used in India, the decision was directed primarily at this segment. The ministry also ordered a probe by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) – in to alleged ‘monopolistic’ practices by the Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Private Limited (MMBL)...
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LOOKING AFRESH AT FARM SECTOR

The Modi Government has taken a slew of measures to double farmers’ income by 2022. However, for these efforts to succeed, State Governments must cooperate, as the real action can only take place at the ground level Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s objective to double farmers’ income by 2022 is being looked upon with scepticism. Critics argue that this will require an agricultural growth of more than 10 per cent per annum, at a time when growth in agriculture has collapsed to less than half a per cent per annum. Critics also argue that the minimum support price has risen only marginally (around four per cent) under the Modi dispensation. Both arguments are flawed. First, a number of States such as...
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Doubling farmers income – not a mere slogan

Prime Minister Modi’s promise to double farmers income by 2022 [the 75th anniversary of India’s independence] is being looked at with lot of scepticism in opposition quarters as also among some critics who look with a microscope every single opportunity to embarrassment him and his government. What is the basis for such scepticism? First, driven by a pre-meditated mindset, they are unable to see or not wanting to see any action happening on the ground. Second, they cite no increase in minimum support price [MSP] of food under Modi – dispensation to infer as to how then, farmers income could be doubled? Both points require careful scrutiny. To see what happens to MSP alone can be misleading. This is because...
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PM Fasal Bima Yojana – intent laudable, what about execution?

Modi – government has been under persistent attack for its obsession with promoting the manufacturing sector [under its flagship “Make in India”] but neglecting agriculture on which nearly 2/3rd of people depend for their livelihood. Critics have also lambasted it for alleged takeover of their land under the Land Acquisition [Amendment] Act 2015 to promote industrial development at their cost. However, to demonstrate that it cares for the farmers, the government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Phasal Bima Yojna [PMPBY] which it claims will bring about a drastic improvement in their economic conditions. Under PMPBY, the government’s intent is to compensate every farmer for the crop loss [due to a variety of factors such as natural calamities, hailstorms, unseasonal rains...
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