February 7, 2017 6:49:28 pm
There was no widespread distress sale of farm produce in rural India due to demonetisation, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said today. “No widespread distress sale of agricultural produce, including that of vegetables, has been reported in the rural areas due to demonetisation,” Singh said in his written reply to the Lok Sabha.
The price is determined by demand and supply and the government has in place a mechanism to protect farmers from distress sale, he asserted.
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There is a mechanism to procure farm produce through central and state agencies under the Price Support Scheme and Market Intervention Scheme, when prices of commodities fall below the minimum support price and cost of production, respectively, he added.
Asked if the farm labourers have been idle or retrenched due to the note ban, the minister said: “No such retrenchment of agriculture labourers has been reported. The total area sown under five major crops in rabi season was higher than the same period last year.”
There was no situation that warranted payment of compensation to farmers, he said.
Replying to a separate query on problems of farmers, Singh said, “For the present, the strategy of the government is to focus on farmers’ welfare by making farming viable.”
Farm viability is possible when cost of production is reduced, yields per unit of farm are increased and farmers get remunerative prices on their produce, he said, adding that the government is implementing various schemes to achieve this.
Responding to another query on soil health cards, Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala said about 4 crore health cards have been distributed to farmers so far.
Against the target of 2.53 crore samples, the states have collected 2.56 crore samples and tested 1.75 crore covering 9.6 crore holdings, he added.
On electronic National Agriculture Market, he said 250 markets in 10 states have so far been integrated. The target is to increase the figure to 400 by March 2017, and 585 by March 2018.
“Lately, need for reforms has been felt in APMC Acts of states/UTs to keep pace with changing requirements in the agri-marketing sector. The government is pursuing with states for adopting the suggested reforms in their agri-marketing regulations,” the minister said.
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