Farm Bill: A Bold Step towards Doubling Farmer Income

Farm Bill is a well-researched bill by Modi Govt with the intention of maximizing farmer income. It is very unfortunate that in the Independent India Lakhs of farmers had to commit suicide. One of the major reasons is not getting correct price for the crop they grow.

Over years, the designated mandis or Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) become the tools in the hands of politicians. Those who don’t get any political appointment lands in key positions in APMC. In the mandis there are so many taxes, bribes at every step and they don’t let farmers prosper. Only when there is competition to mandis, farmers will get respect, farmers will get better income.

The farm bill by the central Government is historic and enables farmers to become self-reliant. Without going into the technicalities of the bill, I wish to share some of the key highlights of the bill:

• Farmers can sell their crops outside APMC. As traders compete with each other in buying farm produce, farmers get better prices. Farmer exploitation is avoided because of the minimum support price (MSP).

• Today a farmer is treated like dirt in many of the mandis. Imagine the day when MNCs coming to his door to buy his products, annadata will gain respect.

• MNCs will bring efficiency, they will bring better storage, better pricing and also farmer will save on transport cost.

• In addition, there is the opportunity to engage in contract farming. Large traders or corporate companies can opt for contract with the farmer to buy his produce. They will then provide farmers with technical assistance, crop insurance, etc. to help them grow a better crop.

• There are different rules to avoid exploitation of farmers in contract farming. The bill sets up a dispute-resolution mechanism for buyers and farmers. Disputes to be handled by a sub-divisional magistrate.

Farm bill is a bold step ahead to ease farmers’ access to markets across the country. It also helps them enter contracts for assured returns. But the opposition political parties and the motivated people opposing the bill are not telling the benefits to farmers, instead provoking them to go on strike!

False news spread by irresponsible opposition parties:
• We fight for farmers: Nope, they are fighting for the commission agents who will lose their huge commissions once farmer has option to sell outside APMCs.

• The farm bill eliminates the minimum support price (MSP): No, instead the minimum support price range has been increased.

• Farmers will suffer without APMC: APMC is still there, but farmers will be freed from the clutches of the commission agents, because the bill introduces another choice for farmers to sell their produce.

• MNCs will exploit farmers: Nope, MNCs will bring efficiency, will bring competition and offer better price for farm produce.

• MNCs will take famer’s land: Even before this bill there were opportunities for MNCs to take over, nothing new today. Instead this is an opportunity for farmer to assert his rights, his value for the crops.

Let’s support the historic farmer bill:

We watched helplessly, when farmers dumped tons of vegetables when the demand for his produce suddenly dropped. We were helpless when millions of farmers committed suicide in free India, because they get less income than they spent to farm, falling into the ever complicating debt trap. This has to end. Farmers have the right to live. Let’s support the historic Farm Bill.

Jai Hind!