Badri Narayan Chaudhary, the national general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangha, affiliated to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said the government’s third tranche of funds allocated to agriculture will help the small farmers the most.
On Friday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the press conference and announced eleven measures, where eight focussed on strengthening infrastructure and storage facilities, and three on governance and administrative reforms to help reboot a battered economy in post covid times.
“Big farmers get benefits during the budget announcement that small farmers don’t even get to know. In this announcement there is a head wise mention, and neat classification which ensures who all have been attended to. This will create awareness among small farmers on what all can be done. It is for those who do not profit much. If state governments cooperate, the measures will surely help,” he said.
The government has allocated Rs 500 crore to bee-keeping initiatives. There is 50% subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient markets. And 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storage will be given to help the small farmers. Apart from this he said that amendments to essential commodities act to enable better price realisation for farmers.
"The announcement on processing, herbal and bee farming among other is a welcome move for the BKS. Many farmers didn’t know about the functionality of herbs that came as side offerings with the main produce from field. The new announcement will make them work on herbs with much support." he said.
Around Rs 4,000 crore have been allocated to promotion of herbal cultivation. A network of regional mandis have also been announced for medicinal plants. National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) will bring 800-hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of Ganga.
He said that one has to wait for the details in marketing reforms that enable the farmers to sell beyond the APMC. “Wait for the details but it should remove all exploitative elements and ensure the minimum support price for the farmer while removing any link between the producer and the buyer."
This is the first time that effort and attention has been given to processing, he said and added, “Announcement with regards to processing is very important, if you see the raw material straight away to the market/mandi, it will take care of grading, packing and processing and end the struggle for farmers who sell their produce on low price.”