The Lok Sabha has passed 3 brand new agriculture-related bills which have left many farmers feeling sad and despondent. While the government has stated that these bills would help transform and develop the agriculture sector, many farmers out there disagree. Let us find out what this farming bill in India is and why farmers are hostile towards it.
The trio of Farming bills that make one unhappy farmer?
The trio of bills that seem to have brought some distress among the small farmers was passed in the government on the 20th of September 2020.
The farm bills that have been presented during the Lok Sabha meeting are: The farmers Produce Trade and Commerce ( Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, Essential Commodities ( Amendment) Bill, were intended to help 86% small marginal farmers.
What is the farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill?
The bill seeks to provide intra and inter-state trade availability for farmers produce that is beyond the physical premises of APMC markets.
In simple terms, as a farmer, one is free to sell their produce to anyone, anywhere while the barriers for intra and interstate trade are removed.
Is this of any help?
This particular bill ends the monopoly play that traders had as an advantage. The bill has also given rise to competition among buyers which is a healthy move in order to give everyone an opportunity towards business. Returns towards farmers are greater and a rise in income is shown over time.
Every small farmer is free to move their surplus produce to deficit regions without any hassle.
This move creates a national market for small farmers while the high intimidation costs of “Mandis” fade away. Consumers all over the nation would be able to get better and cheaper products directly from small farmers.
What is the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill?
The enactment of the bill is to provide a farming agreement between a farmer and a buyer which is prior to the production of rearing of any farm produce.
While the minimum period of an agreement will be for just one production cycle of livestock. The longest term would be for 5 years unless the production cycle exceeds 5 years.
Let’s get a better understanding
Farmers are given assured pricing before they begin sowing their produce. The risk which was burdened on the small farmer is now transferred to the sponsor.
The access to high-quality seeds, fertilizers, pesticides is given to small farmers in order to help them yield better produce. This move also attracts private investments towards the farming industry and helps link local farms to global markets.
What is the Farm Services Bill, Essential Commodities ( Amendment) Bill?
The Essential Commodities Act gives the central government the power to decide certain commodities such as (food items, fertilizers, and petroleum products ) as essential commodities.
Central government may regulate or prohibit the production, supply, distribution, trade, commerce of any such essential commodities. The current purpose is to remove cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onions, and potatoes from their list of essential commodities.
The purpose of this bill?
The bill brings an end towards harassment of businessmen and traders across India. There is a huge potential to attract private investments towards cold storage, warehousing, and processing which could lead to better logistic management.
The amount of food waste would be brought down significantly as more storage facilities would help take care of excess produce. Farming income would increase as the price of produce would stablise. Imposition of the stock limit is removed except for certain exceptional conditions.
The promise given by the center
The center encourages intra-state trade which would reduce transportation costs by a huge margin. Income for small farmers will see a rise as the industry is to show more growth due to the new bills.
By 2022 the income of small farmers will double, which would lead to farmers feeling more satisfied and well taken care of. Farmers will be free from government-controlled markets and would have a better chance to better price their own produce.
A framework on agreements enable farmers to engage with various agri-business companies, exporters, and retailers for different services while the farmers are granted access to modern technologies.
Greater benefits have been provided to small and marginal farmers that have less than five hectares of land.
Why are farmers agonizing over the new bills?
Farmers seemed to showcase concerning behaviour towards the new bills that have been announced by the center. Many farmers are worried about getting the minimum support price for their produce as large players would have an upper hand towards pricing control.
When it comes to negotiations farmers feel they are at a disadvantage as agri-business and other big retailers have more control towards what they have to say compared to the small farmer.
They have also been scratching their heads over the fact that price dictation and reduction of engagement from sponsors will be the result of big players in the market.
While many farmers believe all this would affect their business, as an avid reader of our blogs what do you feel about the recent move on the farmer bills that have been introduced by the government in India 2020.
You are still here?
We hope you had a fun read throughout this whole blog which talked about the current events that are happening in the agriculture industry.
Do give us your final thoughts in the comments section on whether this bill was the right move for farmers or not. We would love for you to stay hooked to our content in the Urban Agriculture industry.
If you are looking for a reliable agriculture company that can provide you with proven results and is backed by Dr. Wilson Lennard who is the world’s renowned Aquaponic scientist with over 20+ years of hands-on experience in the field. Do schedule a call with us and let us discuss your next Agri-Project.