Poor return on investment has made life miserable for farmers

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Published on: 10 Jun 2017 10:44 AM GMT
Poor return on investment has made life miserable for farmers
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Poor return on investment has made life miserable for farmers
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New Delhi: Poor return on the investment made by farmers to grow cash and non-cash crops, due to drought or flood which is an annual visitor and lower prices collected by them from government and other purchase centres, is the main reason behind growing suicide rate and rising debt burden.

Better prices, matching with input and other costs, would have come to their rescue and saved them from harassment from banks or village money-lenders but neither has the government done much in this regard nor any one else, including philanthropists among business tycoons.

Centres have been set up by the government at the block and other levels to purchase farm produce at the minimum support price fixed by the government and but either officials at these centres are non-cooperative or are slow moving in case of payment. Minimum price in some cases falls short of the prevailing market price.

This has driven many of them to middlemen or traders in the village market. Both offer lower prices for higher profit margins. But in an absence of better option they fall a prey to them. Since these prices do not match with investment, they suffer loss year year after year. Those who are mentally strong and hope for the best take this in their stride but others not

But instead of ensuring a reasonable profit to these persons and finding a permanent solution, the government has been providing piece meal solutions-- loan waiver and the like. This has left most of them high and dry.

A recent case study made by a newspaper group in Maharashtra which is facing farmers' agitation has made some startling disclosure. Prices fetched by some crops in the state were much below the expectation and far below the input cost.

Capsicum is given as an instance . Production of this vegetable was more than the average last year and farmers expected a windfall .But it fetched half the price of last year because of higher production. Paddy in Madhya Pradesh, another stir-hit state, according to another report, was sold 15 per cent below the cost of production.

Pulse was another crop which recorded higher production in most of pulse producing states. But the return was as bad in their cases too. Arhar or pigeon pulse, for instance was sold in Maharashtra at 60 per cent lower price. What was worse, the minimum support price was 20 per cent lower than the prevailing market price that year (2016).

Cost of fertilisers, diesel and other farm inputs has risen vertically but the minimum support price paid at the government centres or the price offered in the open market has no relationship with that. This is what has made their life miserable and led to agitation in states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Both have set up committees to remedy the situation but the realisation has come little too late.

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