1. Agriculture World

Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Associations Wants Moratorium on Crop Loans & Removal of Barricades in Villages

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

As the rabi season is about to end in few days, the farming community has called for quick measures to save the crop and complete the harvest season without any problem.

The Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Associations also known as CIFA has asked for removal of barricades in villages so that labourers can do their work smoothly. It has demanded a moratorium on all crop loans long with an insurance cover of Rs. 500000 for farmers & farm labourers, who are putting their life under risk in this COVID-19 outbreak to ensure the food security of the country.

Secretary General of CIFA, Bojja Dasaratha Rami Reddy said, “In the light of the epidemic, the government must declare a moratorium on the loans disbursed to the farming sector for one crop season like the moratorium declared on working capital loans taken by companies”.

In a memorandum to PM Narendra Modi as well as all Chief Ministers, Reddy asked the government to offer interest-free loans for the next cropping season.

The group said complaints have been coming from farmers all over the country, asking for urgent steps to remove various hurdles to harvesting amid the nationwide lockdown.

Reddy said that “It is not just in the interest of farmers that the country should do something to deal with the challenges. During the lockdown it is very important to ensure that the food supplies are maintained”.


Shortage of labourers

Reddy further told that farming community is facing severe shortage of labourers because of villages being barricaded to restrict the movement of people & vehicles. He said, “We recommend an immediate removal of all village barricades. Most of the farms require farm labourers from neighbouring villages & the barricades stop the free movement of labourers that is affecting farm operations.”

He told problem is more serious for crops like chillies, vegetables and horticultural crops adding that “If quick action is not taken to address this issue then could be a big loss of crop due to the produce not being harvested”.

The group also pointed out that fertilisers and pesticides are not available to cultivators as supply chains have been hit. Reddy said, “You need fertilisers and pesticides at the crucial phase of the season. And you also need people to spray these vital sprays”.

Need for procurement policy

 Consortium of Indian Farmers’ Associations said there is an urgent need to plan a policy for the procurement of perishable agricultural produce. Reddy said as all the market yards in the country are shut, farmers must be provided with an avenue to sell their produce. They would also need transport services to take the produce to the markets.

He told that “Farmers have been going through a lot of harassment from local law enforcement personnel while transporting labourers from the neighbouring villages”. He said, “Lakhs of auto-rickshaws & small trucks would take care of the last mile connectivity to the farms from main roads. But as all of these small vehicles have been asked to stay away from the roads, it has become a difficult task for farmers to bring labourers to the field.”

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