Lockdown exemption for farmers and agriculture-related activities is not benefitting at the ground level. Farmers in India face trouble despite exemption from coronavirus lockdown.
Troubles Faced Despite Exemptions
The pandemic continues to dampen the entire spectrum of industries. Also, trade disruptions amid the lockdown are hitting the agriculture sector. The agriculture sector faces troubles despite the exemptions made by the government. The crops stand unharvested in the fields as there is a restriction on the movement of labor.
Besides, the farmers are unable to take the produce to the markets due to restrictions on transportation. Even if they manage to sell it in the markets, the returns would not turn profitable due to the above-mentioned difficulties. Above all, the prices have slashed due to the slump in demand from the urban side and lack of free moving population consumption.
Agriculture Ministry Monitors the Exemptions
Though the Centre has eased the lockdown a bit on farmers, the state authorities are cautious over the same. Consequently, farmers are facing challenges in transporting the farm produce to mandis. Citing this, the Agriculture ministry has set up control rooms to ensure that farm activities take place uninterrupted amid the lockdown.
Further, Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar called for strict compliance of states with the exemption regulations while focusing on intra-state and inter-state movement of farm produce. Besides, he even asked states to keep extra funds to procure the produce at minimum support prices. Also, he urged states to relax APMC norms so that farmers can easily sell the produce in the designated mandis.
ICAR Issued Guidelines for Farming Sector During Lockdown:
The Union home ministry recently notified the relaxations for agriculture and its related activities under the Disaster Management Act. The government has exempted farm workers, farmers and agencies engaged in the procurement of agriculture products. Also, harvesting and sowing related machines and manufacturing, packaging units of fertilizers, pesticides and seeds can operate amid the lockdown.
However, farmers complain that they are subject to numerous checks while going to their fields. Also, the harvester and threshers workers are being asked for passes while moving from one place to place, which delays their movement. In all, the country may see inflated prices of agricultural products if the government does not take timely actions.