The Indian Society of Agricultural Marketing (ISAM) could play an effective role in initiating debates on evolution of markets at the level of individual States for ensuring high income generation for farmers, said Ramesh Chand, Member of NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India), Government of India, New Delhi, in Coimbatore on Thursday.
There was (now) no rationale for the Central government to think of the reforms after withdrawing the farm laws, but there had been discussions for a 25-year duration since 1995 on evolution of markets in the interests of farmers, he said.
Since agricultural marketing was a concurrent subject, the States could well formulate their own laws, Mr. Ramesh Chand said, inaugurating the 37th National Conference on Agricultural Marketing at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University here.
The conference is meant to be a platform for deliberating on various issues in agricultural marketing, including price support operations for agricultural produce in different States, and credit-market linkages in agriculture.
The Central government had, through its (withdrawn) laws, envisaged as high as 17% rise in the income for farmers, and there would not have been scope for traders and middlemen to form unions.
“Marketing reforms are important since unlike the growth in industrial and service sectors, progress in agriculture leads to inclusive growth, helping people in bottom income class and removing poverty,” Mr. Ramesh Chand said.
Presiding over, Vijay Paul Sharma, Chairman, Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices, New Delhi, said the agricultural growth was driven by dairy farming, fisheries and horticulture in the last decade. There was a need to scale up post-harvest infrastructure, he said.
R. Sankar Narayan, Chief General Manager, NABARD, said initiatives had been stepped up for providing credit access for Farmer Producer Organisations. TNAU Vice-Chancellor V. Geethalakshmi said the university was extending hand-holding support to 120 Farmer Producer Organisations through organising buyer-seller meets and establishing linkage with banks.
The three-day conference organised by TNAU’s Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development Studies in association with ISAM has drawn about 200 researchers from State agricultural universities, ICAR institutes, students and retired scientists, and FPOs.