We need income-oriented farm policy
I read with great deal of concern the article titled "Into the abyss" (January 1631). It is important that the points made by the author are taken into serious consideration while developing our future agricultural policy. The National Policy for Farmers submitted by the National Commission on Farmers ( NCF) in 2006 calls for a shift in our agricultural policy from being production-oriented to being income-oriented. Farm sizes are getting smaller and input costs are going up. NCF, therefore, stressed the need for providing the following kinds of support to our marginal and small farmers: Procurement of the commodities covered by the Commission on Agricultural Cost and Prices at a support price based on the formula C2 (i.e. total cost of production) + 50 per cent. This is essential to provide a reasonable income to small farmers whose marketable surplus will be low. Credit at 4 per cent interest rate. Development of an Indian Single Market which will permit farmers to move their products across India without any impediment. A non-farm employment and income initiative which will provide farmers with additional income through value addition to primary products. The need for income orientation has also been stressed in the official National Policy for Farmers placed in Parliament in 2007. Unless this matter is taken seriously farming as an enterprise will begin to lose appeal among the younger generation in rural areas. International price volatility is very high and it will be disastrous if we are to go back to the PL 480 days for feeding our public distribution system. I, therefore, congratulate DownToEarth for the timely warning.