Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday called for paying farmers 50 per cent more than the cost of their agricultural yield to avoid frequent loan-waiver situations. The former union agriculture minister was speaking at a function in Amravati, where he was felicitated for completing 50 years as a parliamentarian. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Amravati Shiv Sena MP Anandrao Adsul were present on the occasion.
“Several industrialists have defaulted on repayment of loans worth several thousands of crores. Farmers don’t intentionally default on repayment on loans. They always try to repay. But due to non-remuneration in agriculture, they fail to repay the debt. If we wish to avert the situation from recurring, the only way out is to pay farmers 50 per cent over and above the cost of production as the price for the produce,” Pawar said.
Pawar also pitched for Bt technology in cotton farming saying, “There may be some problem with the technology, but per acre production of the crop must go to benefit the farmers.”
Fadnavis praised Pawar’s contribution to politics and welfare of the state, saying, “He opted for the Agriculture Ministry when he had other options because he wanted to work for the farmers. When there is a lack of communication among political parties, the opposition turns into an enemy. Pawar never came in the way of the state’s development out of political rivalry. In fact, he is a very magnanimous opponent.”
In a lighter vein, the CM said, “A magnanimous opponent is always better than a selfish friend. The word magnanimous befits Pawar like it does to no one else. But nobody should try to use my statement to drive a wedge between me and Shiv Sena MP Anand Adsul.”
Earlier, talking to reporters at Nagpur, Pawar blamed the agriculture ministries of both the state and Centre for the deaths of farmers and farm labourers. He also called for strict criminal action against those selling illegal or unauthorised insecticides.
Recently, 21 farmers from Yavatmal died allegedly after inhaling pesticides while spraying them in their cotton fields. Last week, seven farmers in Solapur district were hospitalised as they complained of uneasiness after coming in contact with chemicals used in vineyards.
“Illegal insecticides have apparently come into the market and the deaths can be attributed to them. This didn’t happen when I was Agriculture Minister for ten years. Clearly, agriculture ministries at Centre and state are responsible for this tragedy. Strict criminal action must be initiated against all those responsible,” Pawar said.
He also blamed the Fadnavis government for what he described as “wrong management of loan-waiver disbursal” and gave the administration another 15 days to sort out the problems.