The biggest obstacle in increasing farmers income in India are the profiteering middlemen. Commission agents, traders and wholesalers take a major chunk of profit from farmers produce. This leaves very little for the farmers. In an instance in Nashik, an onion farmer sold onions last month at 35 rupees a kg and the middlemen sold the same for more than 100 rupees a kg. India’s farmers are still on a losing side even after several efforts taken by the government.
Middlemen Biggest Obstacle in Increasing Farmers Income
Despite implementing plans for increasing farmers income, the government is unable to provide the benefits to farmers as middlemen take away a major chunk of profits. Punjab farmers complain that their income has declined due to shifting from paddy to other crops. In Punjab there is no provision for sale of crops other than paddy and wheat. As a result, farmers are forced to sell the produce to middlemen at low prices. Similarly, farmers of Kakinada district of Andhra Pradesh alleged that traders are exploiting them by denying MSP for pulses. The middlemen pay less for the crop value on the pretext of quality factors. Due to low government procurement centers, farmers sell the crops at a fearing deterioration of crop.
Cotton farmers of Telangana accused the middlemen of using traditional weights and measurement instead of electronic ones. This resulted in farmers getting cheated for their cotton produce. Officials of Jeypore district in Odisha claim that even after the opening of a proper market place for farmers, they could only procure 384 quintals of paddy in 13 days. Rumours spread by middlemen mislead farmers about a delay in crop selling.
Concerning the onion price hike, farmers say that the crisis is not helping them in any way. Middlemen make an astonishing 100%-200% margins on farmers produce. Sreejith Balasubrmanium, an economist at IDFC AMC said that lack of proper supply chain lets the middlemen make the most gain.
Taking a step towards betterment, farmers of Nasik have started to sell directly to consumers. This step led to an increase in farmers in come in Nasik. They adopted this ‘Farm to fork’ plan with the help of a retired army chief that allowed them to sell their products without paying any middlemen.
Experts advise that the government must provide proper storage facilities to farmers so that they not compelled to sell to middlemen. Adopting eNAM online portal for selling farmer produce than mandi’s is another option for farmers. Besides, the government must make efforts to create awareness among farmers about the availability of registered procurement centers. Officials from Germany and Netherlands on their visit to India suggested ways to increase farmers income in India.
In all, direct procurement from farmers would increase their income and strengthen the agriculture economy of the country. Technology the solution to increasing farmers income in India.