Sowing seeds of doubt: Farm Bills leave farmers, commission agents and workers worried -Vikas Vasudeva

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published Published on Sep 26, 2020   modified Modified on Sep 26, 2020

-The Hindu

Farmers in Punjab are worried about the implications of the three new farm bills that will allow them to sell their produce directly to private players. Vikas Vasudeva reports on the concerns of farmers, commission agents and workers despite the government’s assurances that the legislation empowers them

In June 2020, 55-year-old Shingara Singh in Fatehpur village in Patiala, Punjab, sold his spring season maize crop at 700-800 per quintal, far below the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of 1,850/q fixed by the Central government for the season’s crop. He says private traders buy the produce at a much lower price than the MSP.

In the upcoming Rabi (winter) season, Shingara is hoping to get a remunerative price for his wheat crop. In Punjab and Haryana, the Central government purchases wheat and paddy (rice) at the MSP, which gives farmers an assured market and return. But Shingara is worried that following the passage of the farm bills in Parliament last week, even wheat and paddy will face the same fate that crops that are not purchased by the government agencies of the State or the Centre face.

The Central government says the three bills — the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill — are aimed at transforming agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ income. The provisions of the bills, it says, will enable barrier-free trade in agricultural produce and empower farmers to engage with investors of their choice.

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The Hindu, 26 September, 2020,

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