The new farm reforms will improve the farmers’ condition and the number of suicides will come down, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director, The New Indian Express in TNIE Expressions, a series of live webcasts with people who matter.
What was the need of three farm Bills during the Covid period? Was it right to bring the Bills at such a time?
Everybody wanted growth in agriculture. But, it is unfortunate that every good work has to face some protests...Discussion on reforms and in agriculture has been going on since long. The PM has been working in this direction continuously... Whether it is accepting the recommendations of the Swaminathan Committee on MSP, or transferring Rs 75,000 crore in farmers’ bank accounts through PM-KISAN.
Agriculture infrastructure fund of nearly Rs 1.50 lakh crore was announced. It is necessary that farming should become profitable and some legal reforms were needed for this. We brought this Act. Now, farmers will not need to go to mandis. Mandis will be one of the options, and the farmer will be free to sell his produce directly from farms or warehouse.
A large amount has been dedicated for farm sector reforms. But, there are many states like Bihar, Sikkim where there is no APMC Act. Do you think that farmers there will get benefit? What will be the benefits?
In Bihar, if we look back, we find that farmers were not happy with APMCs. It had become like a racket and farmers were exploited. Exploitation of farmers stopped in Bihar after APMCs were removed. Farmers are independent of doing his business in the State.
But, income of farmers is very less. Income has not doubled since 2005.
Farmers have started benefiting because of the central schemes. Their income will certainly rise when they will improve. Milk and fisheries are also related to farming. For milk, farmers are not bound to go to mandis. There is an open trade for milk. Milk can be sent to Delhi or any other state from Madhya Pradesh. Farmers get adequate price for milk, and milk production has gone up by 8% in last six years. Similarly, Fisheries have improved. ...Milk and fisheries have greater contribution to agriculture GDP than crops.