Nawanshahr: While welcoming the reported statement of Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan that the Central government may consider imposing import duty on wheat to protect country’s farmers amid projections of a record output this year, Mohinder Singh Dosanjh, a progressive farmer of the state here on Friday urged the Punjab government to take immediate steps to protect exploitation of state farmers at the hands of traders including those involved in selling crop seeds.
Dosanjh, a member of Council for Agriculture Research, PAU, Ludhiana who had won the United Nations International Award way back in 1986 for quality wheat production, while talking to Daily Post on Friday said that the maize seed was being sold to the farmers by the seed dealers at highly exorbitant rates.
“Each seed bag weighing about to 4 to 4.5 kg is being sold to the farmers at Rs 2,300 against its actual price of Rs 1,300 by the unscrupulous dealers in view of its heavy demand in Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts,” he said. Dosanjh further urged the farmers to contact their respective Krishi Vigyan Kendra where good quality maize seed had been provided by PAU Ludhiana at government rate of Rs 1,800 per bag containing 10 kg of seed.
Similarly, the state government needs to step in immediately to get the cold storages vacated from the big traders who have booked them (cold storages) in advance, without having purchased any crop so far, in view of the bumper potato crop this season. “The unscrupulous elements among the traders have taken this step to prevent the farmers from storing their potato crop in the stores. As potato is a highly perishable crop especially in summers, the farmers will be compelled to sell their crop at a throwaway prices when they will not get any cold stores to store them for sale in future at some remunerative price,” he said.
Similarly, the state farmers needed to be saved from the scourge of wild and stray animals. “Interestingly, while in our country there is no ban on human beings to shift to any other state, the same is not applicable in case of animals as no one can send or transport the animals to other states,” he said while revealing that some states like Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh hundreds of crores of rupees by exporting beef and leather to foreign countries since the past couple of years.
“Unfortunately, in our state, due to the shortsightedness and vested interests of political leadership, this has not been possible resulting in severe dent in the state’s economy,” lamented the progressive farmer, who is also a renowned author and columnist on agriculture and literature.
“What to talk of containing wild animals, the state is unable to control stray dogs who have been resulting in fatal injuries to its residents for the past many years,” he rued.
Dosanjh further questioned the government policy of not providing any compensation or insurance to the growers of horticulture crops. “This is one of the major hurdles for any successful diversification plan in Punjab,” he said.
Referring to some other anti-farmer stances of the state government, who has claimed to be pro-farmer, Dosanjh said that despite the fact that the Central government had provided adequate funds for purchase of sunflower crop, the state government did not go in for its official purchase compelling the farmers to sell their crop to private traders at highly unremunerative prices.
Still further, as per Dosanjh, the huge maize driers installed in some state mandis including one in Nawanshahr have been useful to big traders only and not to the farmers in view of their limitation in drying the crop in huge quantity (in tones) only. “Farmers need driers capable of drying their crops which usually are in the quantity of some quintals only, said the farmer who advised farmers to approach KVKs for getting Moong seed of good quality.
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