Farm bills and opposition hypocrisy

Source – The Indian Express

Syllabus – GS 3- Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Context– The government claims that the new farm bills are a historic step taken in the interest of farmers, giving them the freedom to sell their produce anywhere in the country and to any one they want.

What are the new Farm Bills?

Three Farm Bills that are bond for contention-

  • The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020– The FPTC breaks the monopolistic powers of the APMC markets.
  • The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020- FAPAFs allows contract faming.
  • The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020- ECA remove stocking limits on traders for a large number of commodities, with some caveats still in place.

What are the pros of farm bills 2020?

  1. Increment in farmer’s income– According to the government, the bills would transform the agriculture sector which will raise the farmers’ income. It also promises to double farmers’ income by 2022 and the Centre said that the Bills will make the farmer independent of government-controlled markets and fetch them a better price for their produce.
  2. Creating healthy competition – These bills provide greater choice and freedom to farmers to sell their produce and to buyers to buy and store, thereby creating competition in agricultural marketing.
  • Opens up agriculture sale and marketing outside the notified APMC mandis for farmers.
  • Removes barriers to inter-state trade.
  1. Efficient value chain– This competition is expected to help build more efficient value chains in agriculture by reducing marketing costs, enabling better price discovery, improving price realization for farmers and, at the same time, reducing the price paid by consumers.
  2. Modernization-The farm bill 2020 aims to enable farmers to engage with agri-business companies, retailers, exporters for service, and sale of produce while giving the farmer access to modern technology.
  3. Promotes Farmer Production Organization (FPO)– These bills promote the creation of FPO on a large scale and will help in creating a farmer-friendly environment for contract farming where small players can benefit.

Way forward-

It is high time to get agriculture market right and these farm bills are steps in that direction. Centre need to create Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) and invest in marketing infrastructure. NABARD must get its act together, take professional advice and work with implementing agencies in the private sector, including various foundations already working with farmers.

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