Agri ordinance will make farmers dependent on corporates: Pb Cong chief

Chandigarh, Jun 8 (PTI) Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar on Monday slammed the Centre over the ordinance allowing barrier-free trade in the farm sector calling it a “conspiracy” to make farmers dependent on corporate houses.

He flayed the Centre for approving the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 and the Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020.

“These so-called reforms were in line with recommendations of the Shanta Kumar Committee report prepared by a former BJP CM, which were to dismantle MSP and FCI eventually,” Jakhar alleged in a statement here.

He said that the Union Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Union minister Harsimrat Badal and Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Badal had termed the ordinances as beneficial for farmers particularly for those in Punjab.

They said that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) started by the Congress party would continue.

“However, this statement is deceiving and hides more than it reveals. The continuation of MSP does not guarantee that the existing system of open ended procurement will continue,” he said.

'The new ordinances in the name of giving the farmers an opportunity to sell anywhere in the country, allow for produce to be purchased by traders outside the mandi, where the state government will not be allowed to regulate and collect fees for rural development,” he added.

Claiming that Punjab delivered approximately 300 lakh metric tonnes of grains to the central pool, Jakhar said that implications of these “historically tragic” announcements will be “disastrous”.

The Centre had notified two key ordinances to kick in agriculture reforms and help farmers trade freely and fetch better prices.         The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020 allows barrier-free trade in agriculture produce outside the notified APMC (Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees) mandis.

It proposes to bar state governments from imposing taxes on sale and purchase of farm produce undertaken outside the mandis and give farmers the freedom to sell their produce at remunerative prices.         Whereas the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020 empowers farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers and exporters through advanced agreements on pre-agreed prices. PTI CHS VSD RHL