Agri reforms soon to augment farm income

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NEW DELHI: The agriculture ministry in consultation with the Niti Aayog has identified a set of nine marketing reforms to ensure remunerative prices to farmers for their produce by reducing intervention of middlemen.

The measures are likely to be in place by July and are considered one of the key steps in doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

“PM Narendra Modi wants these reforms to be implemented by July. We have been encouraging states to work on it to fulfil the PM’s vision of doubling farmers’ income in next five years,” said Ramesh Chand, a member of Niti Aayog.

The identified reform measures include integration of market to e-NAM (national agriculture market) within the shortest possible time, exempting trees grown by farmers on private land from felling and transit regulation, unified trading licence and a single point levy of market fee as well as setting up of agriculture markets in the private sector.

Chand, who chaired a national consultation on the issue on Wednesday, told TOI that all these reform measures would be discussed with agriculture ministers of states on April 24 when the Centre would try to impress upon them the importance of implementing these identified points quickly for the benefit of farmers.

States are expected to incorporate these reform measures in their respective Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Acts. The focus of the April 24 meet will also be on post harvest management in which agricultural marketing has a crucial role. Chand noted that the current provisions of disallowing farmers not to cut trees grown on their land and prohibiting them from taking it from one place to other for sale are quite unrealistic.

“Currently, we have to meet demand of timber in the country through huge import. If states relax the felling and transit rules for trees being grown by farmers on their own lands, it will encourage agro-forestry which has a huge potential for supplementing the income from agriculture”, said Chand.
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