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2nd August 2023 (5 Topics)

Standing with the Farmers

Context:

For the last few years, farmers have been agitating for a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their crops, calculated as per the Swaminathan Commission formula.

Need for MSP:

  • To make agriculture financially viable- MSP is the minimum price of agricultural produce that is necessary to keep agriculture financially viable. If the farmer does not get even this, then he would be pushed into debt.
  • Protection against complexity of climate change- Natural disasters and market forces are hurting farmers. Climate change is increasing the complexity of farming. The farmer cannot be left at the mercy of weather and market forces.
  • Largest source of employment- The livelihood of about 50 per cent of the country’s population depends on agriculture and agriculture-related activities. It is the largest source of employment and livelihood.

New approach towards Agriculture:

  • Farmer-centric policy- The agriculture policy of our country should not only be production-centric, but also farmer-centric.
  • Regulate Middlemen- The burden of providing cheap grains can’t solely rest with the farmer. Even when farmers sell their produce at low prices, consumers buy them at exorbitant rates. This is because of middlemen; they need to be regulated.
  • MSP a legal guarantee- MSP saves the farmer from debt and bankruptcy. Therefore, it needs to be secured with a legal guarantee.

Way Ahead:

  • MSP calculation as per Swaminathan Commission- MSP should be calculated by adding 50 per cent profit on C2 cost, as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission and then by the Group of Chief Ministers
  • Expand agri-business- It is necessary to expand the concept of agri-business (farm to fork) and fix the farmer’s share in it.
  • Inclusion of other expenses incurred by the farmer-The average expenditure incurred by the farmer on education and health services for his family must also be factored in when MSP is determined.
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