Farmers seek minimum income guarantee in manifestos

Although the time for freebies is over as Lok Sabha elections have been announced and the model code of conduct is in place, more than 20 lakh farmers across the country have sought assurance from political parties for a minimum income security for agriculture households.

The income guarantee must reflect “inter-sectoral parity” which should match the salary of a farm research scientist, said farmers groups at a press conference on Thursday.

Raising the slogan, Jo kisan ki baat karega, woh desh par raj karega (whoever speaks about farmers will rule the country), representatives of more than 100 farmers’ organisations released a charter of demands to be included in the manifestos of political parties.

The groups have already spoken to major political parties, including the Janata Dal (United), the CPI and the Biju Janata Dal, and are in touch with the BJP.

The major demand is for setting up a commission for farmers’ income that should come up with a formula guaranteeing minimum livelihood income for farmers, taking into account investment, basic health, education, food, shelter, clothing and lifestyle. Other demands include ecologically sustainable farming systems, community control over agricultural resources and ensuring non-toxic, diverse, nutritious and adequate food for all.

“Several countries are giving direct income support. Even developed countries are giving incentives. Studies have shown that if the farm sector is address there are better chances of reaching the development goals than through any other route,” said Kavitha Kuruganti, convener for Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture.

“What is the point of increasing the food grain production if the farmers do not benefit from it,” she asked referring to the all-time record output expected this year. “This is about lives and livelihood of farmers.”

Farm leaders Rohtas Rathee, Saroj Mohanty and Pankaj Bhushan said that to start with, the farmers in rain-fed agriculture zones and growers should be considered.

Mr. Bhushan said 106 farm organisations had endorsed the charter of demands and each had decided not to allow campaigning of parties who ignored farmers in their manifestos.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 7:31:31 PM |

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