Centre passes buck on potato farmers
Even though reports about farmers destroying their crop after not getting even the production cost have started appearing, the states are yet to write to the Centre asking for utilisation of market intervention scheme (MIS) fund.
“Farmers are helpless as their crop is being sold at lesser than 50 paise per kg in the retail market, which is far less than the production cost. The states should have acted swiftly and initiated procurement of potatoes at retail rate using the MIS fund, which has an outlay of Rs 500 crore,” said Balram Singh, a farmer from Uttar Pradesh.
With less cash in market and little understanding of cashless transactions, farmers are facing a tough time. The instances of farmers dumping tomatoes on the national highway in Chhattisgarh and distributing potatoes free-of-cost outside the Vidhan Sabha in Lucknow are indications of the pitiable condition of farmers in the country.
In reply to a question as to why the Centre is not taking cognisance of the issue, a senior agriculture ministry official said, “Given that agriculture is a state subject, the Centre can only ask states to take their due amount under the market intervention scheme fund, but it’s the states that have to take the initiative. It seems states are rally not bothered about their farmers.”
The Centre has implemented MIS for agricultural and horticultural commodities not covered under the price support scheme, which is implemented on the request of state/UT governments in order to protect the growers of these commodities from making distress sale in the event of bumper crop when the prices tend to fall below the cost of production.