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Impoverishment of agri sector, UP loan waiver triggered protests: Experts

Farmers are struggling to meet their input expenses due to a drop in prices of agriculture produce

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Farmers during a protest in Solapur, Maharashtra, earlier this week. Photo: PTI
Farmers during a protest in Solapur, Maharashtra, earlier this week. Photo: PTI

The almost deliberate impoverishment of the by successive governments, which has translated into poor returns to farmers, and the recent decision by appear to have triggered massive protests in many states, including and

are struggling hard to meet their input expenses due to a drop in prices of agriculture produce, which agricultural experts attribute to the rising cost of farming, the haphazard use of fertilisers, and failed government policies over the years.

Agricultural expert Devinder Sharma said the government did not want more income to since it was not in tune with its economic reform policies.

"Over the years, the government has deliberately impoverished the Our economic policymakers are pushing people in agriculture to cities to get cheaper labour for industrial infrastructure and to keep food prices low so inflation does not increase," Sharma contended.

"Indian agriculture is not in tune with the economic reforms. More agricultural income means economic revival of That is what the government does not want. They want people to move out of agriculture."

Pointing out that heavy use of chemicals and industrialisation in the aftermath of the spoiled the farming sector, noted economist H M Desarda said that political parties used for short political gains at the cost of long-term ecological sustainability.

Despite farmer outburst in several states, which saw the deaths of at least six in earlier this month, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh only on Thursday broke his silence — two days after the incident.

"incident is unfortunate. Those who are politicising it cannot do good to either the country or farmers," Singh tweeted.

The government does not have an understanding of farmers' issues and it wants to fool the people by focusing on communal politics, said Desarda, who is part of ongoing farmer protests in

Sharma said: "It is sad that the Agriculture Minister and the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) are quiet on what is happening."

After the government took the decision on farm loan waiver, there have been similar demands from across the country.

"When you are writing off loans of corporates, how can remain quiet," Sharma asked.

Former Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain cited poor returns as a major reason for distress among

"are not getting fair/remunerative prices for their farm produce, especially pulses, as prices have come down. They want higher (Minimum Support Price). At present, only paddy, wheat and sugarcane get the right The government should bring reforms in the markets," Hussain said.

in have demanded due to drought in last few years but the have not made such demand due to interest-free crop loans, he added.

"Since the get interest-free crop loans in Madhya Pradesh, I think the real issue there is not so much a waiver of crop loans but not getting remunerative prices for their produce, especially horticultural produce," the former senior officer said.

Panjab Singh, President of the agri think tank — the National Academy of Agriculture Sciences — said the ongoing protests could be politically motivated.

"The way protests are being promoted, putting in front, it could be political," he said.

Singh said the recommendations by the committee should be implemented for the farmers' benefit.

First Published: Sun, June 11 2017. 15:07 IST
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