Barter system that represents the trading of goods or services between two or more parties without the use of money is what the farmers in Hosadurga are demanding from banks, ESCOMs and other government offices where money is the only means of transaction. Fed-up with the government's failure to procure Ragi and other millets through minimum support price (MSP), farmers have decided to 'sell' their produce through the ancient barter system.
The barter system agitation will be started by the farmers at Hosaduraga in Chitradurga district, where they say they are going to repay the bank loans by handing over agricultural produce like Ragi, foxtail millet, Kodo millet bags to bankers.
Speaking to TNIE, farmer leader Echaghatta Siddaveerappa who is leading the Ragi procurement agitation at Hosadurga said: "We have been requesting both the central and state governments to procure Ragi, foxtail millet, little millet and other farm produce by providing MSP. However, the government has announced MSP but they are not ready to procure our farm produce and our protest since last 15 days has not yielded anything."
"As a last resort, we have sent letters to all the banks to take our farm produce and write off our farm loans as it is the only thing available with us to repay," he said.
Replying to a question on the prices of the farm produce, he said that the prices are fixed by the farmers and for each quintal of Ragi the price fixed is `5,000, foxtail millets it is `6,000 and other millets it is `8,000. Bankers have to take the farm produce at these rates and write off the loans.
He further said that they are going to deposit the farm produce at banks on Friday morning when the bank begins and the agitation will start from Hosadurga. Based on the success of this agitation, it will be extended to other parts of Karnataka.
"Farmers don't want to be in debt. If proper scientific prices are implemented in Karnataka, there will be no excess production and farmers will go for diversified crop. However, due to the failure of successive governments including the present Narendra Modi government in implementing scientific prices for farm produce as recommended by the MS Swaminathan commission, tit has become inevitable for the farmers to take this extreme step," he explained.
"The government, instead of boasting, should immediately accept the report on scientific prices of agricultural produces submitted to Karnataka government by Prakash Kammaradi and bail out the farmers in distress," he added.
Siddaveerappa also said that the government should wake up before the farmers' agitation reaches a bigger level.