Tirupati: Farmers hopeful of agri Bill benefits

Agriculture market yard
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Agriculture market yard

Highlights

The proposal that the farmer can sell his produce anywhere is good, but the question is will the state governments implement it properly. For example, there is anti-dowry law but the authorities failed miserably in implementing the same

Tirupati: Is the concept of One Nation, One Agriculture Market anti farmer? The passing of the Farm bill has triggered some political agitations in some states and some state governments have openly expressed their opposition to this new concept.

But at the ground level, it appears that the farmers by and large are not against the bill. Unlike many governments opposing it, they do not think that it will play big spoil sport.

Many real farmers to whom The Hans India spoke opined that the intentions of the bill are good but are sceptical about its implementation to achieve its desired objectives.

The state governments they say talk very high about farmers and try to project themselves as farmer friendly. But they could do nothing to help the farmers in ensuring minimum support price at the Agriculture market yards. A group of middlemen control the entire system with political backing. They decide the rates at which the crop is to be purchased just on the eve of the arrival of the crop in the market yards and the farmers have no option but to offload their produce. The proposal that the farmer can sell his produce anywhere is good but the question is will the state governments implement it properly. For example there is anti-dowry law but dowry rates have gone up like anything.

Unless the Centre comes out with fool-proof mechanism to integrate the markets and ensures elimination of middlemen who have strong political connections, the objective of the bill cannot be achieved, they say.

A ground-level sample survey by Hans Team in various districts of Andhra Pradesh has made it clear that there is total disinformation being spread about the Farm Bill. They have expectations from the bill but are not sure whether the fruits will reach them or not.

Chenchaia, a farmer from Yerpedu in Chittoor district, said, "this year the crop is good and government fixed MSP for paddy at Rs 1,300 but the reality is the farmers in our area forced to sell our paddy for Rs 700- Rs 800 to middlemen as millers are not purchasing our produce. If there is no cess as promised in the bill is implemented then it would benefit the farmers. Will politicians allow it to happen?

Another farmer, Suman Reddy of Chindepalle, said: "All parties heap promises and roll out some schemes but the condition of the farmers was not improving."

Srinivasulu Reddy from Kalikiri feared the strong farm lobbies will see that the corporates benefit instead of 85 per cent of farmers who are small and marginal farmers.

Will this bill change the fortunes of dairy industry. Milk farmers are at the receiving end as the private dairies pay Rs 24 per litre while it is sold for Rs 60. The bill will be welcome if it can help this section of farmers, they hoped.

In East Godavari, while the farmers feel that bill promises some benefits to them but they fear that the middlemen will play spoil sport. A Bhupal, marginal farmer of Duvvuru mandal in Kadapa district, said it is nothing but a conspiracy by the Centre to hand over farming sector to corporate companies.

Mathsyaraju, a small farmer in Anantapur who grows vegetables in two acres, opined that it may benefit the large farmers. He said he was not clear about the contents of the bill.

Farmers of Krishna and Guntur district welcome the concept of free market where the produce can be sold anywhere they like. But they are not sure if it will help the small farmer also or not.

(With inputs from Ravi Benjamin Anantapur, Srinivasa Rao Kadapa and SS Chary East Godavari, Md Ameen Krishna Dist.)

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