Tamil Nadu has become the first State in the country to enact a law on contract farming with President Ram Nath Kovind giving assent to the Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation) Act.
Stating this in an official release, the State government said the law would safeguard interests of farmers during times of bumper harvest or fluctuating market prices. The farmers would be paid at a pre-determined price, which had been arrived at the time of signing agreements with buyers.
Such agreements would have to be registered with designated officers from the Department of Agricultural Marketing and Agri Business.
A six-member body, called the Tamil Nadu State Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation) Authority, would be formed to ensure proper implementation of this Act and make suggestions to the State government for promotion and better performance of contract farming.
As part of the law, farmers could get support from purchasers for improving production and productivity by way of inputs, feed and fodder, technology. However, any produce, banned by the Centre or State government or the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, would not be covered under contract farming.
Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had given instructions to officials to complete finalisation of rules and ensure early implementation of the law, the release added.
The formulation of the Act is in tune with the Central government's approach of encouraging States to come out with such a law. Between December 2017 and May 2018, the Centre circulated the text of a model law twice. It had also held discussions with representatives of State governments. The State government, in its budget for 2018-19, announced its decision of coming out with such a law. In February 2019, the Assembly adopted the bill.