Price safety net for farmers in Kerala coming

Special Correspondent

KALPETTA: The government will put in place a Commodity Price Safety Net as part of the 2009-10 annual Plan, State Planning Board vice-chairman Prabhat Patnaik said here on Sunday.

Presenting a paper on ‘The Peasant Question and Contemporary Imperialism’ at a two-day seminar on ‘Global Financial Crisis and Indian Peasantry,’ Prof. Patnaik said the price safety net would help insulate peasants in the State from sharp fluctuations in the prices of their commodities in the international market.

Given the State government’s difficult financial position, it would be able to provide price support only to select commodities.

Price on offer

The government, he said, would step in whenever there was a fall in the international market in these commodities and ensure that the peasants got a ‘livelihood price’ for their commodities.

The farmers would be allowed to take the price on offer and the rest would be taken care of from the State budget.

The proposal for the ‘Commodity Price Safety Net’ was mooted as part of efforts by the State Planning Board and the State government to address peasant distress during times of sharp fall in commodity prices in the international market, he added.

Expressing his reservations about the scope of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme , Prof. Patnaik pointed out that, on the one hand, it did not cover all sections of the working population and, on the other, the return on per labour day was falling under neo-liberal policies. It has a positive role in addressing peasant distress, but simply making more labour days is in itself not enough, he said.

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