CHENNAI: Defending the three farm bills of the Central government, which were passed by the Lok Sabha recently, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday said, “I did not oppose these blls since they will benefit the farmers in Tamil Nadu.”
Palaniswami also denied the charges levelled by Leader of the Opposition MK Stalin regarding these legislations. “Many special aspects of these legislations would benefit the farmers of Tamil Nadu. This would not affect the procurement of paddy based on the Minimum Support Price (MSP). There will be no bar on the functioning of the farmers' markets in Tamil Nadu,” he added.
Responding to the criticism of Stalin that he (Palaniswami) was unfit to call himself a farmer by supporting these Bills, the Chief Minister said, “The Leader of Opposition does not know anything about agriculture.
Unlike Stalin, I am well aware of agriculture as well as the farmers. That is why have been implementing the Kudimaramath scheme, building check dams, declared delta districts as protected agricultural zone, etc. I am proud to call myself a farmer,” the Chief Minister added.
“As a farmer, I clearly understood that these three legislations will safeguard farmers from the impact of any unexpected fall in prices of agricultural products and will ensure concrete income for them. As such, I did not oppose these laws. The situation prevailing in States like Punjab will not suit Tamil Nadu,” the Chief Minister said in a statement.
Palaniswami denied the charges of Stalin that these legislations were deadly for farmers’ interest and that they would only pave way for corporates hoarding agricultural products. He also denied another charge of Stalin that these Bills were against the Agricultural Marketing Centres as well as Farmers Markets and there was no guarantee for Minimum Support Price for agricultural products.
The Chief Minister said that the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 (FAPAS) will help regulate the contract farming system in Tamil Nadu. Besides, this legislation would safeguard the objectives of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2019.
Pointing out that there were no provisions in the Central legislation which forces the farmers or affects them, he said, “The farmers can enter into a transparent agreement with the agricultural marketing companies, wholesale sellers, exporters, food processing companies, etc., for farm services as well as procurement of agricultural products. Through these arrangements, farmers will have a concrete income. In case, if the market price goes above the agreed price, there are provisions in this legislation to provide additional benefit to the farmers.”