CHENNAI: Given the increasing trend of farmer suicides in the country, the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation have decided to hold an annual summit to highlight the issue and draw international attention to it, agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan said on Sunday.
The decision was made over the last three days at a conference held here in which a number of Ramon Magsaysay awardees from across Asia participated. He said the summit would be christened “Farmers’ Davos” and modeled on the famous Davos Economic meet held in Switzerland every year.
The idea behind the summit, which is proposed to be held in Maharashtra, is to highlight the alarming trend of farm suicides and the collective failure to address it.
The summit will draw participants from both the government and non-governmental fields. Deliberations targeting a solution will be discussed with focus on Vidharba, he said.
Swaminathan also proposed an action plan to revamp pricing of produce so that farmers can earn a better deal, especially those cultivating exportable items. This would involve fixing a “pre-sowing Minimum Support Price”, a separate price for the harvest factoring in changes in input costs between sowing and harvesting, and a “post-procurement” price, which would enable farmers to earn the benefits of higher prices that export markets command, the profits of which are usually usurped by middlemen.
He said much of the farmer suicides in the cotton belt of Vidharba was due to crashing prices. However, this scenario holds true only during procurement. This has to change, he opined.