'Centre's wheat ban hurting farmers, but exemptions helping exporters': Yogendra Yadav

Yadav also accused the Narendra Modi-led government of going back on its promise for a committee on the minimum support price issue and to withdraw cases against farmers.

Published: 25th May 2022 06:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2022 06:50 PM   |  A+A-

Social activist Yogendra Yadav

Social activist Yogendra Yadav (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

KOLKATA: The wheat ban imposed by the Centre has crashed prices in 'mandis', hurting farmer interests while exporters continue to reap the benefits of a global price spiral by continuing with shipments of the grain, charged Jai Kisan Andolan leader and renowned sociologist Yogendra Yadav on Wednesday.

Yadav also accused the Narendra Modi-led government of going back on its promise for a committee on the minimum support price issue and to withdraw cases against farmers.

"Wheat prices crashed after the announcement of an export ban, which meant a loss to farmers already hit by a heat wave that has reduced crop yield. At the same time changes in the ban order meant exporters could continue to export and profit (from high international wheat prices)," said Yadav, who is also a leader of the Swaraj India party, at a press conference here.

Wheat prices crashed from Rs 2,881 a quintal on May 7 to Rs 2,220 per quintal on May 13 after the ban was announced on export of wheat from the country, citing rise in prices.

The MSP or the price at which the government guarantees wheat purchased in contrast stands at Rs 2,015 a quintal.

Global prices on the other hand have continued to rise with Argentine wheat selling at USD 475 a tonne, and EU France Grade 1 selling at USD 451.

Exporters, who had contracted sales before May 13, were given a relaxation from the ban order and allowed to continue sales.

Yadav, whose Jai Kisan is part of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, which had organised the farmers' agitation that lasted over a year, also warned that the movement for a law guaranteeing a higher MSP based on actual costs will be restarted, as the government failed in its promises of withdrawing cases against farmers or setting up a committee to solve the issue.

"They asked us for names for the committee. We asked for the terms of reference and they kept silent on that, and then said in Parliament we have not given names for the panel," he said.

"There should be a legal guarantee about MSP for all crops. But, despite assurances, the Centre is yet to issue the necessary notice even for all the 23 listed crops. I urge Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to ensure her party TMC extends support regarding our demand for MSP," the former AAP leader said.

He said when the agitation takes place this time around, it would not be limited to northern India, and the farmers' organisation would want "Bengal, Odisha and Telengana to come forward".

Yadav said the government talks about taking the interest of all stakeholders in the farming sector into account, but in reality, it is only looking after the interest of big businesses, corporates and mill owners.

"Not the ordinary farmer," he quipped.

To another question, he said the Sanjukta Kishan Morcha (the joint platform of farmers) will chalk out the next course of action at a meeting of its central committee on June 8 in New Delhi.

The platform has around 400 member organisations from all over the country.



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