‘No change in situation since time of report of the Commission on Farmers’ Welfare headed by Prof. Jayati Ghosh’

A survey by the Human Rights Forum (HRF) has found that the government had abdicated its responsibility of supervising and regulating the agricultural marketing/procurement process in the agriculture market yards and Indira Kranti Patham (IKP) centres in Nalgonda.

This has resulted in farmers being left at the mercy of a limited number of commission agents who set the agenda of procurement and the pricing strategy obviously in line with the interests of the traders, primarily rice millers, the HRF team has found, after a visit of some market yards and IKP centres to assess their functioning.

Concerns remain

The team noticed that things had not really changed since the time of the report of the Commission on Farmers’ Welfare headed by Prof. Jayati Ghosh. The same concerns have remained and the government has done nothing to facilitate fair prices and humane procurement processes for agriculture produce except for establishment of IKP centres which, if made functional, would be actually useful for farmers.

During its visit to Mothkur agricultural market, the team comprising G. Mohan, N. Amar and Ch. Guruvaiah saw only two farmers drying their paddy to be procured. One of them was waiting for seven days for his paddy to be procured. No tarpaulin sheets were provided for protection of farm produce. The yard was virtually non-functional and the officials themselves admitted that farmers had stopped coming as their dues were not cleared on time.

As the procurement process started late into the paddy harvest season at D. Repaka IKP centre, half of the region’s produce had already been privately sold by farmers. Similar was the case in Addaguda IKP centre. The team saw Thirumalgiri agriculture market yard, a major procurement centre reduced to a platform for commission agents to deal with farmers in any way they want without any intervention or supervision of the market committee and its office staff. The Suryapet yard was in a “horrible mess”.

The HRF team has demanded implementation of the Jayathi Ghosh Committee report, opening of more IKP centres and active involvement of FCI and State Civil Supplies Department.