Agriculture: Farmer and arhtiya (commission agent) unions from Punjab have launched protests against an order issued by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which seeks land records of farmers for online payment of the minimum support price (MSP) directly into their bank accounts.
The FCI’s northern zonal office in Noida has sought land records of farmers, citing that this is mandatory if farmers are to receive direct online payments of MSP for wheat in the upcoming Rabi Marketing Season (RMS). Land records need to be updated on the Anaaj Kharid Portal before commencement of RMS 2021-22 so that the FCI can verify them.
While farmers are worried that the FCI’s insistence on direct payment and tenancy documentation could derail the crop procurement process and leave out many from getting a fair price for their crop, arhtiyas feel that they will not be able to avail their 2.5 percent commission on crop sales. (Arhtiyas facilitate the procurement of crops from farmers to government agencies, and charge commission for this service).
Ravinder Cheema, President, Punjab Arhtiya Association, said that they plan to call a meeting of the arhtiyas in Punjab, to develop a plan of action and go on strike. They also plan to stop the procurement of wheat from the coming season.
Listen to this discussion between former Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain and the leader of a farmer collective, Kavitha Kuruganti on the ongoing farmer protests, dissent, and the process of consultation and policy reform in India.