Lok Sabha passes bills to free-up farmers to sell their produce anywhere

New Delhi, 18 Sept

The Lok Sabha passed two bills that would allow farmers for direct marketing their produce and to get better prices. 

Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar introduced The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 in Lok Sabha. The bills will replace ordinances promulgated in June 2020. 

The government is confident that the new laws will boost farm incomes although some farm leaders fear that farmers may be exposed to manipulation by traders and companies. 

Replying to the discussion Shri Narendra Singh Tomar said that farmers will now be freed from the restrictions of having to sell their produce at designated places only, the procurement at Minimum Support Price will continue and mandis established under State laws will also continue to operate. 

The Union Agriculture Minister said that these legislations will bring about revolutionary transformation and transparency in the agriculture sector, electronic trading will increase, there will be accelerated agricultural growth as private investment will be attracted in building supply chains and agricultural infrastructure, new employment opportunities will be created and rural economy will get a boost, which will in turn help to strengthen the national economy. 

The legislation related to price assurance will create an ecosystem where the farmers and traders will enjoy freedom of choice of sale and purchase of agri-produce. It will open more choices for the farmer, reduce marketing costs for the farmers. It will also promote barrier-free inter-state and intra-state trade and commerce outside the physical premises of markets notified under State Agricultural Produce Marketing legislations. 

The other legislation will empower farmers for engaging with processors, wholesalers, aggregators, wholesalers, large retailers, exporters etc., on a level playing field without any fear of exploitation. It will transfer the risk of market unpredictability from the farmer to the sponsor and also enable the farmer to access modern technology and better inputs. It will reduce cost of marketing and improve income of farmers. 

This legislation will act as a catalyst to attract private sector investment for building supply chains for supply of Indian farm produce to national and global markets, and in agricultural infrastructure. Farmers will get access to technology and advice for high value agriculture and get ready market for such produce, official said.