CII organises industry-ryots meeting
VIJAYAWADA: The industry should make more efforts to reach out effectively to farmers’ community and ensure that they got good price for their produce by minimising or doing away with the role of middlemen in the process, felt speakers at an industry-farmers meet organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Thursday.
Dwelling at length on the farmers’ problems and solutions, the speakers strongly advocated a say for farmers in fixing the price for what they produce. Though farmers sweat out in the fields, they were not allowed to have any role at any stage from marketing to fixing of price.
“As experts have said, marketing should be made farmer-friendly. Industry should have social and humanitarian considerations. They should offer good price to farmers and help them come out of their problems,” said local MP Lagadapati Rajagopal. He felt that the government should walk that extra mile to play the part of an intermediary so as to ensure a good deal to the farmers.
Delivering the inaugural address, Mr. Rajagopal recalled how all farmers in Reddygudem in Krishna district were fleeced by an unknown trader who disappeared with their produce after convincing them that he would offer a higher price than other traders. The MP wanted the industry and the Government to consider all these factors and come to the rescue of farmers by all possible means.
P. Gopalakrishna, senior vice-president (marketing) of Coromandel Fertilizers, suggested that the farmers could form themselves into more number of groups and buy fertiliser directly from the company without paying heavily to middlemen. He pointed out that 620 groups had already started doing this and his company had sold 20,000 tonnes of fertiliser worth Rs. 35 crores last year. “This year too, we plan to extend this benefit to many more farmers,” he said.
Trilochan Sastry, a professor at IIM Bangalore, regretted that farmers continued to suffer whenever there was no remunerative price, or in the event of unfavourable weather or pest attack.
“But a trader never feels let down by all these factors. He seems to be never hurt by these things. It is because they deal with marketing and money. So, farmers should do something of this kind for long-term benefits,” he opined. CII city former chairman Dasari Ramakrishna criticised successive governments for not taking any concrete action to ensure better price for farmers. Representatives of nearly 100 farmers’ groups from Krishna, Nalgonda and Khammam districts participated in the conference, which was aimed at finding ways for increasing cooperation with the industry.