16th May 2020 10:05:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Third instalment of the 20 lakh crore Covid-19 economic package announced by Union FM has devoted exclusively to agriculture. Its core feature has been the policy formulation for initiating the long-contemplated agricultural marketing reforms, giving way for a pan-national integrated marketplace for the entire range of agricultural produce through enactment of a central law to eliminate barriers currently present in the agri-marketing ecosystem.The intentions definitely have a certain degree of appeal as they envisage a goal of furthering the economic interests of the farming community via better prices. But, doubts have also been voiced by several stakeholders as to how much of the promised benefits will reach the ultimate intended beneficiaries i.e the farmers after the switchover from a regulated era to a free regime.
The defining feature of the 11-point announcement is there will be a central law to allow farmers to sell their produce at prices which they feel most-acceptable. This would effectively mean neutralising the hegemony hitherto enjoyed by the mandis i.e. the wholesale markets enacted under respective state APMC Acts through a boundary-free inter-state trading system with e-trading to play a decisive role- all with the singular purpose of creating a common national agriculture market. But, along with these new hopes, the air of scepticism is also perceptible which revolves around the fact the ‘bold’ attempt to alter the monopoly-oriented dynamics of the agricultural marketing structure might invite some challenges since these mandis, over the years, have been a steady source of funds that serve various political interests, a common elemental agri-marketing feature irrespective of any state or region. There are also queries as to how the new methodology will guarantee the ‘minimum support price’ which farmers have so far enjoyed and whether the corporate players will enjoy an upper hand in the way of things to come. FM, meanwhile have assured that the proposed legal framework will be facilitative in nature and oversee contract farming, assured sale prices and procurement quantities even before crops are sown and it will be most heartening if these are actually taken care of.
But the part of the announcement most relevant to NE and Arunachal Pradesh is the investment plan of Rs 1.5 lakh crore to create agri infrastructure incorporating the aspects of logistics building for fishermen, livestock maintenance inclusive of the seasonal animal diseases, animal husbandry, herbal cultivation and supplementing the efforts of vegetable growers, beekeepers and related stakeholders. These are all grossly inadequate in this part of the country and as such, a substantial part needs to be earmarked on a long-term basis.
Despite all  the finer aspects, it needs reminding that a constant vigil must be kept, particularly at the preliminary stage of the change so that there is no dilution of farmers’ interests.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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