Farmer suicides not due to govt. policies, says Minister

Minister for Agriculture B.C. Patil at a press conference in Mysuru on Tuesday.  

Minister for Agriculture B.C. Patil sought to delink farmers suicide from government policies claiming the two were unrelated, while attributing suicides to “weakness of mind”.

Speaking to media persons here on Tuesday, Mr. Patil said suicides were not confined to the farming community and officials, industrialists and others too have ended lives when in distraught. It is during this spell of momentary weakness that suicides are committed and the government was conceiving policies and programmes to address this issue, said Mr. Patil.

The Minister said the ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) project was a step in that direction through value addition to agricultural and horticultural produce under the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme (PM-FME Scheme).

“Merely visiting the bereaved family members of farmers and offering sympathies will not help the community. But such programmes will help shore up their income and prevent suicides and it was in sync with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of doubling farmers income by 2023,” he said.

ODOP implementation

Karnataka was on the forefront in implementing ODOP for food processing and value addition, according to Mr. Patil, who refuted suggestions that it could promote mono culture. The programme identified a suitable crop for which there was scope for value addition through processing locally and does not mean that all farmers will be encouraged to shift to one crop. The agricultural policy gives thrust to integrated farming promoting crop diversity, the Minister said.

He said the government had reached an understanding with the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in Mysuru to train nearly 500 farmers from across the State on various aspects of technology transfer for value addition besides marketing. The first batch of 50 farmers have already been trained and the training programme for the second batch is on and the programme was officially launched on Tuesday. The exercise will go on till March 31, he said.

On the ongoing farmers protest against the farm laws, Mr. Patil said it was devoid of logic as the laws were favourable to the farmers and had opened up the market under ‘one nation one market’ concept.

The amendments to the various farm laws introduced by the government would benefit the farmers and free them from the clutches of middlemen. They will not be restricted from selling their produce to any one anywhere in the country unlike in the past when it had to be sold at the local APMC and benefited only the middlemen, he added.

Mr. Patil denied that the farmers were opposed to the law and claimed that only a ‘’few leaders of the farmers’’ were expressing their opposition to it. When countered that even the Supreme Court had stayed its implementation, Mr.Patil said it was to elicit opinion and study the pros and cons and the stay was only temporary.

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Printable version | Mar 6, 2021 11:42:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/farmer-suicides-not-due-to-govt-policies-says-minister/article33612471.ece

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