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Delhi government to carry out survey to know ‘actual condition’ of farmers

The study will seek to find out the average yield of various crops, main channels for sale of the farm produce, price realization of the last two years for both kharif and rabi crops, and the share of farmers who till land owned by others.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
Updated: August 15, 2021 7:59:23 am
According to the 2016 Agriculture Census, there are 21,000 farmers in Delhi. (Representational Photo)

The Delhi government has planned a study of the city’s agriculture sector to gain insights on the expenditure and income from cultivation of major crops, find out the “actual condition” of farmers, and extend awareness among them on minimum support price (MSP).

The study will be carried out by a third-party agency under the supervision of the Planning Department, documents stated. The agency will be chosen through a bidding process from among ones empanelled with NITI Aayog.

The “Comprehensive Research Study on Pattern of Farming and to Assess the Costing and Income from Cultivation of Major Crops in Delhi” is aimed at knowing the major crops being “grown along with the grade and quality.”

It will also seek to find out the average yield of various crops, main channels for sale of the farm produce, price realization of the last two years for both kharif and rabi crops, and the share of farmers who till land owned by others.

According to the 2011 Census, 75.1% of Delhi’s area is urban and 24.9% rural. The 2016 Agriculture Census puts the total cultivable area relating to agriculture and horticulture activities at 29,000 hectares and the total number of farmers at 21,000.

“Though there are farmers in Delhi but there is no consolidated data on their actual condition,” the objective of the study stated. Data with the Development Department show that wheat, at 19,220 hectares, is grown across most of the city.

The study will cover 25 villages where 40 households will be picked from each village with “sufficient variation across location (districts) and income profile”.

Apart from farming details, the surveyors will also gather data on whether the farmers hold bank accounts, kisan credit cards and insurance. They will also study as to whether the farmers are associated with any union.

To find out awareness on MSP, the surveyors will attempt to understand if they are aware about the names of agencies that purchase crops at minimum support prices. The reasons behind not selling crops at MSP range from unavailability of procurement agency, no local purchaser, poor quality of crop and better price over MSP among others, according to the pre-survey document.

There are six APMC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee) mandis in the city. Last November, the government notified the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020, allowing trade of foodgrains and poultry outside the premises of APMC mandis.

Under the new law, the sale and purchase of products outside the mandis shall attract no market fee, cess or levy. Critics of the law fear that buyers will prefer trading outside because of the absence of any fee, which may eventually render the mandis insignificant.

The ruling AAP, too, has been supporting the farmers’ stir against the agricultural laws, including the one on trade and commerce outside mandis, introduced by the Centre. The party also supports the demand for a separate law on making purchase below MSP a punishable offence.

The Delhi Economic Survey also states that the returns from traditional agriculture are presently less attractive as compared to the high value of commercial horticulture.

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