The Government has taken up measures to protect farmers facing obstacles during the lockdown due to Covid-19.
Measures for Fruit and Vegetable Farmers
Fruit and Vegetable Farmers have been among the hardest hit by the lockdown. They are facing major losses due to obstacles in harvesting and marketing their perishable produce.
The Central Government has directed all the States and Union Territories to implement the Market Intervention Scheme to ensure remunerative prices to farmers for perishable crops.
It has also begun a train service to transport perishable agricultural and horticultural commodities to markets due to the obstacles in road transport.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare 50 trains have been deployed for this purpose.
Market Intervention Scheme
Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) is implemented by the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.
The objective of MIS is to provide remunerative prices to the farmers in case of excess of production and fall in prices.
The MIS is an ad-hoc scheme under which include horticultural commodities and other agricultural commodities.
These commodities are perishable in nature and which are not covered under the minimum price support scheme.
Further, the MIS is implemented on the specific requests of the State Government/UT Administrations willing to share the loss with the Central Government on a 50:50 basis (75:25 in case of North-Eastern States).
Measures for Pulses and Oilseeds Farmers
Farmers, mostly in dry-land areas, have been complaining that market prices for toor and urad dal, chickpeas and soybean are far below the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) in many mandis, with trading disrupted by the lockdown.
The MSP is the rate at which the government buys grains from farmers.
It is fixed on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
The Centre has extended the procurement window for its Price Support Scheme (PSS) up to 90 days from the date of commencement of the scheme in each State.
The PSS is operationalised on the State governments’ request when the prices fall below the minimum support price (MSP).
The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) and other agencies procure pulses and oilseeds under the scheme at the MSP.