This refers to “Tackling farm distress: Income generation needs market-based solutions” (December 5), which rightly asks for a multifaceted income-generation plan, rather than MSP hikes and loan waivers to mitigate farmers’ woes. In reality, it is not that small and marginal farmers are averse to or are not adopting allied agricultural activities for income augmentation. But here, too, they get an unjust deal. For example, small farmers who rear four/five cattle get only half the price equivalent, barely covering the cost of the milk they produce to sell to big commercial chilling centres and big dairies. Simillar is the fate of horticulture and vegetable farmers. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Food Processing as well as the agriculture ministry have failed to provide any direct help. The benefits of central schemes are cornered by big landlords and corporates engaged in big food processing units. Small farmers are always capital short.
The neglect of the cooperative sector is another area which requires urgent attention both by the states and the Centre. The mentality of a farmer has to be changed so that he considers himself to be an entrepreneur. Only then will there be an improvement in the farmers' lot. The Centre must bear the financial burden of the welfare schemes meant for farmers.
Brij Bhushan Goyal Ludhiana
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