Agri Distress Deepens as Crop Prices Crash -Subodh Varma
Over the past three years, prices of farm produce have gone down, pushing farmers into deeper crisis but the govt. has no solution.
It is perhaps a symbol of our times, and this govt.’s alienation from the people, that it is totally unconcerned about crashing farm produce prices even though the Prime Minister and his colleagues go on harping on their commitment to double farmers’ incomes.
Here is what has happened to rabi (winter) crops. Wheat prices have inched up by 4% since 2016. Bengal gram and masur dal prices offered to farmers in wholesale markets (mandis or APMCs) are down 37% and 24% respectively. Safflower prices are up 8% while mustard is down 8%. Barley (jau) prices are down 5%. Average annual inflation rate, that is yearly price rise, has been 4-5%, in these years and clearly, the tiny increase in prices that the farmers got would have been wiped out by the inflation.
In fact, some of the inputs that the farmers use – like diesel to run their generators for pumps and machines – have risen far beyond the average inflation. For instance, diesel prices increased 23% in the four years of Modi Sarkar. So the farmers are losing out much more.
A similar story was seen in the previous kharif (monsoon) crop. Although paddy prices increased by about 11% in 2017 and jowar by 2%, bajra fell by 5%, arhar by 36%, moong by 19%, urad by 44%, groundnut by 5%, soyabean by 8% and cotton by 5%.
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