New Delhi: Farm Reform laws are going to help farmers and support Indian agriculture. Farmer’s income and production will improve, deliberated Shri P K Swain, Joint Secretary, Marketing and Agriculture. Marketing Advisor, Min of Agriculture, Government of India in Virtual Meeting of Stakeholders on Farm Reform Laws – Submission of Joint Comments to SC Committee organized by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Shri P K Swain mentioned that we need to improve our exports, processing and ensure that there is a continuous increase in the income of farmers. The market needs to increase its capacity and APMC needs to reorient themselves as a service provider role so that they are increasing the existing volume by providing additional services that will benefit the farmers and the cost is minimized.
Shri Vijay Sardana, Advocate High Court and Agriculture Policy Expert while giving major highlights of the new laws mentioned that these reforms are in the favor of increasing farmer’s income, reducing exploitation and middlemen interferences.
Talking about the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, he mentioned this reform permits inter-state trade movement of farmers’ produce beyond the physical premises of APMC markets and other markets notified under the state APMC Acts. It will also lead to direct and online buying and selling of agricultural produce. As per the Act, the State Governments are prohibited from levying any market fee on farmers, traders, and electronic trading platforms for trading farmers’ produce in an ‘outside trade area. He further said that SDM has been empowered to provide solution in case of disputes. This will take off the load of litigation on the courts.
While giving an overview about the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, he mentioned that this act creates a national framework for contract farming through an agreement between a farmer and buyer before the production of any farm produce. Provisions have been made for Risk Mitigation. The third amendment is the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, as per this amendment, the Government of India regulates the production, supply, and distribution of a whole host of commodities it declares ‘essential’ to make them available to consumers at fair prices. He clarified that the law will not lead to hoarding by big businesses as is being perceived.
Mr. Pradeep Multani, Senior Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry deliberated about the importance of the agriculture sector for the development of the economy. He mentioned that the Agriculture or the Farm Reform laws that have been adopted have the best of intentions for improving the farmers’ rights and enhancing their remuneration. However, the level of farmers’ agitation had led the Honorable Supreme Court to form a committee of experts to make recommendations and submit the report to the Supreme Court, the committee has adopted the democratic way of seeking inputs from all stakeholders.
Mr. Multani further mentioned that PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry stands in complete solidarity with the government and pledges to extend wholehearted support, in whatever means required and possible, this is our way of contributing to the process of policy formulation.
Mr. Pradeep Multani highlighted that farmers under the guidance of the scientists that have made it possible for us to be an exporter of food from a situation of scanty in the 1950s and 60s. India has a definite advantage in agriculture production and with little scientific and technological intervention, we also have the potential to be the global food hub as there still exists under-utilized capacities in agriculture productivity.
Mr. Nand Kishor Aggarwal, Chairman, Agriculture Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry while sharing his industry perspective mentioned that there is a need to put forward facts and figures to understand the situation of farmers and accordingly formulate laws for their betterment. The industry stakeholders need to take responsibility to write to a committee made by Supreme Court to support them and, the reforms created are in the interest of the farmers. He appreciated the reforms and measures undertaken by the government towards the betterment of the farmers and increasing their income.
The meeting was moderated by Mr. Mallika Verma, Director, Agriculture, PHD Chamber, and was attended by many industry stalwarts pan-India.