Andhra Pradesh

Ensure free movement of labour, demands farmers’ association

Labour shortage will lead to crop loss, they say

The Consortium of Indian Farmers Associations (CIFA) said that the farmers in the country are facing hardships due to the 21-day lockdown imposed in the country as a response to COVID-19 pandemic.

The secretary-general of the Consortium, Bojja Dasarath Rami Reddy, has written to the Prime Minister detailing the issues currently being faced by the farmers on Saturday.

According to CIFA, there is a labour shortage as the villages are being barricaded. They suggested immediate removal of all barricades and make sure that labour has free movement across villages.

They also warned the government that there could be a huge crop loss if the labour is not allowed to move freely as produce would not be harvested. Moreover, they claimed that local law enforcement has also been “harassing” farmers while transporting labour from neighbouring villages.

As the authorities continue to clamp down on autorickshaws, the CIFA asked the government to provide special buses to facilitate the safe movement of labour.

CIFA also complained that pesticides and fertilizers are not widely available. “The fertilizer and pesticide shops are being closed by the local law enforcement only to be opened as soon as the police leave,” claimed the consortium.

They implored the government to make sure that shops are kept open, and also to make sure that fertilisers are delivered to the farmers at their doors to avoid the need to towns on a large scale.

“There is a difficulty in marketing perishable goods such as vegetables due to non-availability of transport,” said CIFA. They explained that though Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments have already announced that the produce would be purchased directly from the villages, a comprehensive policy is required.

They also asked the government to declare a moratorium on the loans disbursed to the farm sector for one crop season, similar to the moratorium declared on the working capital loans taken by companies. CIFA also asked the government to provide interest-free loans for the next farming season to facilitate easy access to capital and prevent loan sharks from taking undue advantage of the farmers.

Lastly, the requested the government to provide an insurance cover of ₹50,00,000 to each farmer and farm labourer.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 12:57:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ensure-free-movement-of-labour-demands-farmers-association/article31195164.ece

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