Kerala

Kerala to benefit from agriculture reform: Muralidharan

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan defending the agriculture reform laws on Saturday.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan defending the agriculture reform laws on Saturday.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan on Saturday said the agriculture market reforms laws passed by the Central government has at a stroke eliminated farmer exploitation in the country and would benefit Kerala, among other States.

Defending the Bills passed by the Parliament and signed into law by the President, Mr Muraleedharan cited the experience of mango growers in Muthalamada in Palakkad district.

“They had no easy access to the Azadpur Mandi mega bazaar in New Delhi. The notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) wholesale market offered the best price for mangoes in the country. Farmers in Kerala and elsewhere were constrained to ferry their produce to the bazaar over long distances to get a reasonable price for their harvest.”

“A network of agents and transporters exploited their vulnerability. Moreover, a substantial amount of the produce spoiled en route given the delay in transportation and sale. Finally, farmers received only 15 to 18% of the actual price of the crop. The rest went into the pockets of agents who operated in at least eight tiers.”

“The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and allied laws allowed farmers to sell their harvest outside the notified APMC market without paying any State taxes or fee.”

“They empowered the farmer to sell their produce to the highest bidder at any market or place of their choice. In the event the market price of the crop plummeted, the Central government would step in with a minimum support price offer for the crop to prop up farmers through the lean season.”

“Comparably, cashew farmers in Kerala often smuggled their crop to markets in Karnataka to get the best available price. They usually got charged for dodging local levies and their produce impounded by local authorities. They were also at the mercy of ruthless agents.”

“The new laws have eradicated the need for such surreptitious transactions.”

“They allowed contract farming and direct marketing. The laws have thrown opened the door for private investment in the moribund farming sector and catalysed the modernisation of food production, storage, movement and sale. The rules offered farmers a wider choice and freed them from decades of servitude and bondage.”

“The Congress and the CPM had opposed the law for political reasons. They did not even seek a vote or participate in the discussions in the Parliament. The protests against the reforms have petered out. Farmers have realised that the Opposition had misled them,” he said.


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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 4:05:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-to-benefit-from-agriculture-reform-muralidharan/article32758688.ece