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Farm Bodies Push for Import Duties, Tenant Farmer Benefits, and R&D Investment

22 Jun 2024 4:36 pm
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MUMBAI, 22 Jun (Commoditiescontrol): In a pre-Budget consultation with the Finance Minister today, agricultural experts and farm bodies called for the imposition of import duties or non-tariff barriers to prevent the dumping of farm products, ensuring that landing costs do not drop below the minimum support prices (MSP). They also proposed the development of a new agricultural policy and a revised method for calculating MSP.

Discussions included methods to extend the benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme to tenant farmers, who currently miss out on the scheme’s annual income support of ₹6,000 in three equal instalments. The scheme presently benefits only land-holding farmers.

To include tenant farmers, the government must identify them through satellite imagery and local Patwari information, and establish a portal for farmer registration, according to Ashok Gulati, an agricultural economist with the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations. “It can be done. It requires clear thought and perseverance. China has done it,” Gulati told CNCBC-TV18.

Farm bodies also called for increased investment in agricultural research and development (R&D). Bharat Krsihak Samaj, in its pre-Budget suggestions, recommended doubling R&D investment, with funding allocations clearly divided between education and research.

Experts emphasized the high returns on investment in agricultural research, particularly in combating weather variations and climate change. They stressed that funding should not be limited to the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and state agricultural universities but should extend to any legitimate institution with genuine research interests.

Additionally, there were calls for the optimal use of water resources and mandatory procurement of 5% of power generated from agricultural residues by coal thermal plants, further supporting sustainable agricultural practices.

These comprehensive recommendations aim to strengthen the agricultural sector, ensure fair pricing, and extend support to all farmers, including those who lease their farmland.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau; +91 98201 3018)

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