Tamil Nadu Moves to Increase Farmer Earning
To revamp the agricultural sector and increase farmer earnings, the Tamil Nadu state government has announced a slew of measures. The new policy initiatives include direct procurement of pulses by the government, integrating animal husbandry, agriculture, horticulture and fisheries, and replacing the state support price for sugarcane with a revenue-sharing formula over and above the fair price prescribed by the government.
Based on the Dr Rangarajan Committee’s recommendations, major sugar-producing states like Maharashtra and Karnataka have moved to the revenue-sharing formula.
Due to a range of factors like failure of monsoons, varietal degeneration, reduced recovery, decline in area under cultivation and the resultant reduction in capacity utilization of sugar mills, the sugar industry is currently going through an extended phase of distress.
In turn, it has affected timely payments to farmers. The new pricing mechanism will come into effect in the current season itself.
Finance minister O Panneerselvam said, “To facilitate this transition, the government will protect the interests of farmers by assuring them of the present state administered price (SAP) of Rs 2,750 per tonne excluding transportation cost of Rs 100, by paying the difference between the present SAP and the price received under a new revenue sharing formula as transitional production incentive directly to the farmers. The sugar industries shall however continue to bear the transportation costs."
Another major initiative is to increase production and go in for direct procurement of pulses through the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation. During 2017-18, the government promoted an intensive pulses production programme through village clusters and about 85,000 hectares of land was additionally brought under pulses cultivation.
Combined with these, a string of food processing parks would come up in many districts to reduce wastage of farm produce like vegetables, fisheries, dairy, poultry and meat.
Farmers’ organisations said unless the dues of Rs 1,460 crore that sugar mills owe to farmers were cleared, sugarcane farmers’ sufferings would not end, while farmers’ organisations have welcomed the government’s decision to procure pulses.