The Governments – Union and State – have put farmers in fetters with their antediluvian farm sector policies. A corrupt, thoughtless license-permit-quota raj has been crippling the farm sector. In agriculture, production itself is dependent on weather gods, pests and diseases, availability of quality inputs and timely workforce. One out of three crops is lost and the farmer suffers heavy losses. But thanks to Government policies, even when a farmer raises a good crop overcoming all obstacles, the price is depressed. The farmer loses all when the crops fail; and he loses heavily when there is a good harvest.
In this backdrop FDR is advocating the following in Agriculture sector:
- Liberalization of agriculture sector, with specific reference to ensuring the delivery of MSP and enhancing the MSP to paddy farmers
- Expanding the markets for agricultural produce, giving the choice and flexibility to farmers to sell their produce anywhere at remunerative prices even as the food security situation in India is not adversely affected
- Enhancing rural incomes through agro-processing industries and strengthening institutional loans, linking rural employment to farm labour and likewise
- Creating an effective market chain mechanism for benefiting both producers and consumers of agricultural produce
- Strengthening the credit mechanisms for farmers and tenant farmers in particular
- Massive investments in organized retail chains are necessary to stimulate our agriculture, stabilize prices, create jobs and promote exports. Most food inflation is in respect of fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, meat and fish. In the absence of proper logistics, the consumer pays a high price, and the farmer realizes a low price. The only way of assuring the best price for the consumer as well as farmer is to compress the elaborate market chain, and bring the producer close to the consumer. The source of investments is of little consequence as long as steps are taken to protect interests of farmers and consumers
- Massive investment to create storage facilities with post-harvest management for perishable commodities, and facilities for the farmer to avail bridge financing on the stored produce, with the flexibility to sell at an attractive and remunerative price
- Market yards must be brought under direct control of farmers who are the stake holders and professional assistance can be provided on a need basis
- Rational policies for import of scarce commodities such as pulses and oil seeds coupled with incentives for boosting domestic production
- All taxes and cesses related to farm produce should be directly deployed only to improve infrastructure in markets, warehousing and other facilities to facilitate better access and higher price realization; and these resources should be directly transferred to elected market committees, under fair and firm supervision to enforce accountability and transparency.
- Significant investment in agricultural technologies, plant breeding, pest control, soil management, drought resistance, post-harvest technology, and in frontier areas of biotechnology is critical to ensure food security and protect farm incomes.
- Revamping the existing faulty and inefficient PDS by effectively identifying genuine beneficiaries and bringing in technology-based, innovative methods like direct food stamps .
In this respect, FDR has led the Formation of Federation of Independent Farmers Associations (FIFA) of Andhra Pradesh as a platform to campaign for liberalized trade for agricultural products benefitting Farmers and Consumers. Policy Round tables-cum-Opinion Building Meetings have been conducted by the FIFA in Rajahmundry, drawing participation from Farming sector, media representatives, researchers in agriculture, and prominent local citizens with the aim of promoting liberalized trade of agriculture products.