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    JAC calls upon political parties to evolve long-term plan for agriculture growth

  • Date : 17 March, 2021

    The Joint Action Council (JAC) of Tamil Nadu Farmers Associations comprising farmers’ organizations has called upon political parties to evolve a long-term plan to increase investment in agriculture sector and improve the socio-economic status of farmers rather than eyeing them as a vote bank and coming up with short-term assistance.

    The council, after a meeting to discuss the current scenario in the sector and the Assembly election, regretted that though there was surplus food production in the country, individual farmers were facing financial distress. The per capita income of farmers in the country was put at ?6,426 in 2014 and it was a national shame. It was also highly doubtful whether it had increased since then.

    Businessmen or industrialists, when faced with loss of income or financial distress, could close down their establishments. But farmers, on the other hand, did not do so and continued to invest and toil in their field. Hence, the government was duty-bound to extend all assistance to them in terms of pricing and marketing their produce.

    “Political parties which aspire to capture power in the state should pay attention to the issues facing the sector. They usually view the farming community just as a vote bank and do not have a long term plan to improve farmers livelihood and their socio economic condition. Rather than implementing schemes to satisfy a pocket of the people with an eye on the elections,there should be proper planning so as to relieve farmers from the immediate financial distress and improve their socio economic status in the long term ,” said D.Gurusamy, coordinator of the JAC, briefing media persons along with the senior farmers leaders such as Mahadhanapuram V.Rajaram and Gandhipithan of the Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association and G.S.Dhanapathy of Farmers Forum of India. Representatives of various other farmers’ organisations also participated in the meeting.

    The JAC also called upon the government to increase public investment in agriculture and to strengthen marketing infrastructure. The Prime Minister had promised steps to double the income of farmers by 2022; but there had been no action plan or scheme to achieve the goal. On the contrary, the three new farm laws were contradictory and left farmers in no man’s land.

    The government should evolve a long-term perspective to strengthen agriculture sector and increase the income-level of farmers. The minimum support price of farm produce should provide for 50% profit for farmers over and above the cost of production.

    There must be a cohesive policy on river water management and movement of agriculture produce. The common procurement and public distribution system should aim to promote small land holders and at least 30% of the procurement should be from those with small land holdings.

    Arguing that subsidy was not a freebie, the JAC said the credit assistance scheme was an investment to maintain agriculture production and the price levels on a par with the purchasing capacity of the people. The government had a duty to assist farmers to ensure food security, Mr.Gurusamy said.

    The Cauvery-Gundar intra-State river link project should be pursued with vigour by the incoming government and the project should be implemented expeditiously, the JAC demanded.

    Mr.Gurusamy said a delegation of JAC members planned to meet the next Chief Minister after the election and submit their recommendations.

    Source: The Hindu



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