Kerala

Assured income scheme for farmers on the cards

System to be based on Actio Apportum concept

The government is clearing the decks for the introduction of a novel scheme that will provide farmers with an assured income and the legal right to a share of the profit generated from trading farm produce.

In a special statement made in the Assembly last week, Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar proposed the introduction of the scheme based on the Actio Apportum (Avakasa Labham) concept that was first mooted in the State agricultural policy unveiled in 2015. The Minister told The Hindu that the scheme to be introduced this year envisaged the creation of a fund by levying an Actio Opportum cess on farm produce at the point of sale.

It is estimated that over 40 lakh tonnes of rice is being sold in Kerala every year. “If the government collects a cess of one rupee on each kg, it will generate an amount of ₹400 crore that can be routed to farmers as Avakasha Labham, their legal right of the profit share,” says Chittur MLA K.Krishnankutty, who was the chairman of the committee that drafted the policy.

A farmer giving three tonnes of rice to the State will be eligible for a payment of ₹15,000 as Avakasha Labham from the Department of Agriculture for one crop.

The policy document notes that Palakkad matta rice is sold in upcountry metro markets at ₹65 to ₹70 per kg while the farmer producer in Kerala sells it at less than ₹23 per kg, with rapacious traders pocketing the profit. The marketing margin for milk and milk products ranges from 25 to 82% while that for vegetables varies from 14 to 82%.

“The Actio Apportum concept thus assures the producer farmer of the legal right to a share of the huge profit generated by traders,” explains Mr. Krishnankutty. “The assured income will encourage farmers to invest more in crop production.” The policy had recommended the Actio Apportum system only for small and marginal farmers depending only on agriculture for their livelihood.

The Minister said the modalities of the scheme including the cess to be levied at the point of sale would be decided after detailed discussions. The government is learnt to have received legal advice that the GST regime would not prevent the State from imposing the cess.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 6:08:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/assured-income-scheme-for-farmers-on-the-cards/article19524835.ece

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