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Farmers bill misconception needs to be resolved

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The Indian farmer has always been like an areca in a nut cracker always under pressure from both supply and demand side. During recent the Indian government has introduced controversial agriculture bills that the government says will boost growth in the farming sector through private investments.

In the view of rising and fluctuating trends in agricultural prices there is a need for stabilization of prices of agricultural commodities. In India bumper crops lead to fall in revenue of farmers. Due to which APMC market has been formed which helps farmers to give a minimum price of their product irrespective of market price. But this makes farmers vulnerable to middlemen and vested interests. They are exposed to global prices but are not provided with cost efficient technologies. The new laws will remove middlemen from agriculture trade which will allow farmers to sell to institutional buyers and large retailers.

The main worry of farmers is that is they are compelled to sell at the price offered by private buyers. But the new laws are not shutting down APMC  mandis nor they are implying that MSP will not be functional. If the private deal is not distinctly better they can continue to sell their produce as before. Farmers in Punjab and Haryana where MSP is more prominent are afraid what big companies will offer to trade. The Bill also removes cereals and pulses from the list of essential commodities and attract FDI. The agreements will help farmers engage with retailer, exporter of service and sale of produce by giving access to modern technology.

The farmers bills may have been moved after years of frustration with uneven and partial state reforms. But the credibility of agriculture market reforms will not come by bypassing states. It will only depend on how the Modi government creates confidence among farmers and cooperation of states wherever needed.

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