Haryana farmers win compensation for defective seeds sold by IFFCO

Unsold gaur seeds lying in a godown in Saurashtra.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

After a seven-year fight, two Haryana farmers have been granted a compensation of almost ₹5 lakh from cooperative giant Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), which sold them defective guar seeds that led to 70% crop failure. The farmers won their case at the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) earlier this month.

Vinod Kumar and Vijay Kumar, both farmers from the Shahpur village in the Hisar district of Haryana, had purchased 180 kg of guar seeds manufactured by IFFCO subsidiary Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative (IFFDC) in 2012. Guar, or cluster beans, is grown not just for the vegetable, but for its gum, which is one of India’s major agricultural exports to the United States. Haryana is the second largest producer in the country.

‘No up to mark’

According to the farmers, IFFDC assured them that the guar seeds would give proper yield of 8 to10 quintals per acre. Despite following proper instructions and procedure, even ploughing their fields thrice for better yield, “the crop was not up to the mark”, the farmers said. An inspection by the Agriculture Department in September 2012 “found the plants to be of different variety. About 60-70% of the plants had high growth without any fruits,” noted the complaint.

The farmers approached their district consumer forum, where IFFCO and IFFDC argued that there was no defect in their seeds, and won a dismissal. The farmers appealed to the State Commission. In October 2017, Mr. Vinod Kumar was granted crop failure compensation of ₹1.2 lakh, while Mr. Vijay Kumar was granted ₹30,000, apart from additional compensation for mental harassment and the cost of litigation. After one failed appeal, IFFCO and IFFDC paid the compensation to the farmers.

Revised compensation

The farmers appealed again to the NCDRC, pointing out that the State Commission did not award even the minimum price of the crop to them while assessing the compensation for the loss. Agreeing with their complaint and request for revision, the NCDRC hiked the compensation amount, awarding Mr. Vinod Kumar ₹3.4 lakh for the loss of his crop and Mr. Vijay Kumar with ₹1.02 lakh, apart from the ₹49,500 previously granted for mental harassment and the cost of litigation.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 7:30:51 AM |

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