Tiller trou­bles

Down to Earth - - LETTERS -

This is re­gard­ing the cover VWRU\ k:K\ IDUPHUV GUHDG D QRUPDO PRQVRRQy -XO\ :KLOH WKH 0RGL gov­ern­ment is busy on so many fronts, the farm sec­tor is be­ing ne­glected, with some doles be­ing dished out now and then. The cri­sis is too deep-rooted to be solved by band-aid so­lu­tions like farm loan waivers. Re­mu­ner­a­tive prices are what the farm­ers are de­mand­ing, not sub­si­dies. Cheap loans should be dis­bursed from gov­ern­ment­con­trolled and co­op­er­a­tive banks to make it easy for farm­ers to ac­cess loans, rather than go­ing to lo­cal lenders.

An­other prob­lem is the big dif­fer­ence between large, small and,mar­ginal land hold­ings for cul­ti­va­tion. Of­ten, it is un­eco­nom­i­cal to cul­ti­vate in small farms as the yield is just enough for the fam­ily.

The price of farm pro­duce is an­other burn­ing issue. :KHQHYHU WKHUH LV D JOXW LQ the mar­ket due to fall­ing prices, it makes it dif­fi­cult for farm­ers to get re­turns on what they have in­vested, lead­ing them into a debt trap. Farm­ers should get back their sale pro­ceeds on de­liv­ery, rather than wait for a long WLPH :KHQ WKHUH LV VXUSOXV pro­duc­tion, the gov­ern­ment must buy the goods and store it, or send it to wher­ever it is needed, even for ex­port. Cold stor­age and proper stor­age of farm pro­duce are es­sen­tial to pre­vent wastage.

Pro­duc­tiv­ity is an­other

prob­lem faced by Indian farm­ers. In de­vel­oped coun­tries, where tech­nol­ogy and mech­a­ni­sa­tion are used widely, only a small per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion is en­gaged in the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. But in In­dia, a large sec­tion of the pop­u­la­tion is still in­volved in agri­cul­tural and re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties. The food pro­cess­ing in­dus­try at the lo­cal level can gen­er­ate more em­ploy­ment. We also need to pre­pare for flood and drought con­di­tions bet­ter and min­imise their ill-ef­fects on farm­ers. DBN MURTHY BEN­GALURU

Apart from get­ting low re­turns on their pro­duce, which the ar­ti­cle ex­plains beau­ti­fully, farm­ers also face a short­age of proper stor­age and trans­porta­tion fa­cil­i­ties. Much of the agri­cul­tural pro­duce is wasted every year in In­dia. There is a need for con­cen­trated ef­forts to build cold stor­ages across the coun­try and fo­cus on the sup­ply chain man­age­ment. The pro­posal in Bud­get 2017-18 to ex­pand the cov­er­age of the elec­tronic Na­tional Agri­cul­tural Mar­ket from 250 mar­kets to 585 is a good ini­tia­tive in this di­rec­tion. UDAYAN SINGH DELHI

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