Surplus food grains a worry for Punjab, Haryana farmers

Surplus food grains a worry for Punjab, Haryana farmers

Farmers, especially of Punjab and Haryana, are worried over the end of the mutually-beneficial relationship between them and the Union government with the passage of the three agriculture bills in the monsoon session of Parliament that ended on Wednesday.

Their key apprehension is that the minimum support price (MSP) for crops may be stopped by the Centre, a fear that has been allayed repeatedly by the latter.

The government-farmer relationship goes back to the mid-1960s when India was battling food grain shortage and fear of famine loomed large. To remedy the situation, the Union government ushered in the Green Revolution to make India self-reliant in food production by adopting modern methods and technology.

The government-farmer relationship goes back to the mid-1960s when India was battling food grain shortage and fear of famine loomed large. To remedy the situation, the Union government ushered in the Green Revolution to make India self-reliant in food production by adopting modern methods and technology.

As the Centre gave support by providing high-yielding varieties of wheat and paddy, inputs and improving irrigation during the Green Revolution, farmers of Punjab, Haryana and west Uttar Pradesh complemented its efforts by bringing more area under these crops, especially rice. To aid farmers and meet its target of food grain procurement, the Union government started buying these crops at MSP, which took care of their concerns about selling the produce. More scientific and technical inputs coupled with the increasing MSP, area under both crops, especially paddy, went up manifold in Punjab and Haryana.

Higher acreage and output of wheat and paddy meant higher surplus available with farmers of Punjab and Haryana as they looked up to the government for the purchase of their produce. They fear in the absence of the government purchase, their crop may not get the right price, which would lower or hurt their income.

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