AFTER FARMERS in Haryana were forced to sell potatoes for as low a price as 20 paise per kg, the BJP government in the state is thinking of creating a system to help peasants whenever they resort to distress sale. State Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar on Wednesday said the government has planned to offer some sort of support price to such farmers for crops like potatoes, tomatoes, cauliflower and onion, which are currently outside the ambit of MSP (Minimum Support Price).
Recently, The Indian Express had highlighted how farmers sold potatoes at 20 paise per kg at the Pipli grain market in Kurukshetra district.
“We have discussed this issue with the chief minister today to explore how prices of these vegetables can be stabilised. If there are good prices for such crops, then the government may levy more taxes especially on the commission agents so that the government can offer money from this fund to the farmers in case of a drop in prices,” said Dhankar, a former national president of the BJP Kisan Morcha.
When asked about the waiver of farm loans by neighbouring states, Dhankar said, “We are working to make farmers self-sufficient instead of depending on loans by aiming to increase their income to Rs 1 lakh per acre. However, it is a reality that farmers in all corners of the world require assistance in the form of subsidies as the agriculture sector does not result in earnings as high as that of the service sector.”
The Haryana farmers are on the warpath alleging that their crops were being purchased at throwaway prices this year. Keeping in view the stir, the state government on Wednesday decided to buy 50 per cent of the sunflower crop at MSP.
Till now, it had been procuring just 25 per cent of the crop at MSP, which is Rs 3,950 per quintal.
In the absence of MSP, the farmers were forced to sell the sunflower crop at the rate of around Rs 2,500 per quintal.
“For the time being, the farmers have decided not to sell their sunflower crop at throwaway prices. We want that 100 per cent crop of sunflower of the farmers be purchased at the rate of MSP otherwise it has no meaning,” said Gurnam Singh Chaduni, president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, Haryana.
The farmers have announced to stage a half-naked protest at the grain market of Shahbad Markanda (Kurukshetra) on June 24 when Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar would go to the town to address a rally.