“PLEASE DO something to check the marauding blue bulls who ruin our crops”. “How can our fields be irrigated when power crisis plague our villages?” “Input costs for fertilizers, seeds, insecticides, etc are rising, but the prices for our produce are unsatisfactory”. “The decision to eke a living through agriculture has proved suicidal”.
These were some of the complaints and outbursts from the farmer fraternity before the National Commission for Farmers at the Yojana Bhawan, here on Friday.
The Commission was here to gather suggestions from farmers, NGOs, politicians and officials in Uttar Pradesh. UP is the 15th state where the Commission carried out this exercise. The process, an effort to draft India’s first National Policy for Farmers, will be carried out in other states too.
Member secretary Atul Sinha, member Prof RB Singh and member Atul Kumar ‘Anjan’ of the Commission listened to the various suggestions.
Sinha said, “The Green Revolution and previous agricultural policies ensured food security for the country but failed to provide individual food security to the farmer.”
He added, “The Government of India constituted this Commission in February 2004 with the objective of making a farmer-centric agricultural policy.”
The spurt in farmers’ suicides in the last few years triggered a need for the Commission. Talking about farmers’ problems, Sinha said: “In the last one decade, agricultural investments have fallen.
Imports have hit farmers badly and affected their income. Input costs for farming have shot up but their produce does not fetch good price. Besides, irrigation projects have fallen short of their target.”
Agriculture production commissioner Anees Ansari suggested to the Commission that the new policy should ensure minimum support prices for farmers and change export policy that should not just promote farmers’ produce for export but also facilitate the same.
As regards UP, he said that the new policy should do something about flooding in west UP areas by negotiating with the Nepal Government, and make provisions to check depletion of groundwater level in several districts.”
Minister of Agriculture Ashok Bajpai said, “Chemical farming has totally contaminated our lands. No wonder, foreign countries reject our agricultural or horticultural produce on account of excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. With no option left, we will have to go back to our traditional way of farming.”