BENGALURU: In an attempt to support farmers in distress, the Karnataka government is laying focus on integrated farming, which provides for alternative cropping, and gives them relief even during disasters. Farmers, though, are urging Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to give them legal protection against purchase of agricultural produce below Minimum Support Price (MSP), on the lines of the Punjab government. They are also demanding financial assistance to compensate for losses they are likely to incur due to the new anti-cow slaughter law.
Yediyurappa on Monday completed the series of pre-budget meetings with all departments and stakeholders. The upcoming budget is likely to give more support to farmers and encourage them to take up multi-sector farming, and also focus on inter-sector farming.
Sources in Agriculture Minister BC Patil’s office confirmed that the focus is on integrated farming. “All these years, horticulture, agriculture, fisheries and sericulture were looked at as individual sectors, and lacked a holistic approach. By providing them alternative means, a farmer who loses in one sector due to unavoidable circumstances like flood or drought, will gain something from another sector, and can support his family,’’ sources said.
In the budget for 2020-21, Yediyurappa had announced Rs 32,590 crore for the agriculture sector. However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, many of the announcements were not implemented. Besides this, three floods and Covid put farmers in misery.
This year’s budget is also likely to focus on technology implementation, like uploading of data and access to documents, besides claiming compensation. “We are also focusing on making farmers entrepreneurs and will consider farming an industry,’’ sources said.Karnataka Raitha Sangha president Kodihalli Chandrashekar said the state treasury is empty, but the government can take a loan to help farmers. The Union government has to fix MSP as per the Swaminathan guidelines. “Legal protection against purchase of produce below MSP should be given. For this, a sum of Rs 10,000 crore should be allotted, along the lines of the Punjab government,’’ he said.
On the recent anti-cow slaughter law, Chandrashekar said the State government should give financial assistance of at least Rs 35,000 to farmers for lifelong maintenance of old cows. The government should also establish warehouses, processing units and seed banks in taluks and hoblis, so that farmers need not go to Mumbai or Bengaluru.