VIJAYAWADA: Though the farming community of Andhra Pradesh is worried over the three new agriculture laws passed by the centre, these have not impacted the ongoing agricultural season in AP compared to northern states.
This is mainly because farmers of northern states are more dependent on government procurements within agriculture markets at minimum statutory prices (MSPs). The situation is different in AP, where farmers sell their produce as needed in open markets, without depending on government procurement and MSPs.
Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 are the three laws that have created worries within the farming community.
Though the Andhra farming community is habituated to open market system, it is now worried about the impact these three central laws may have on AP in the long run.
Andhra Pradesh farmers are currently growing mixed crops over 59.06 lakh acres, including paddy, Bengal gram, black gram, green gram, jowar, maize, tobacco, chillies, groundnut, pluses, sunflower, sesamum, onion, bajra, ragi and minor millets. Thus, AP’s crop pattern is quite different from northern states, where majority farmers are preoccupied with cultivating wheat and paddy.
Farmers P. Naresh and D. Kondal Reddy say multi-cropping system helps Andhra farmers sell their produces in local markets without depending on government procurements. Further, Rythu Bharosa and other welfare schemes aid farmers in marketing their crops within the state. However, Naresh and Kondal Reddy do fear that the central laws could dismantle the minimum support price system, which can allow private corporations to exploit farmers in the long run within AP.
The two farmers are keen that the laws are rolled back as otherwise agriculture trade and commerce will get controlled by corporate companies whose motive will be profit at any cost.
CPM leader Ch. Babu Rao, who has led various farmers’ protests, pointed out that 80 percent of agricultural lands in AP are cultivated by tenant farmers, as landowners are more interest in other lucrative businesses. But in northern states, landowners are themselves cultivators and depend on government procurement and MSP.
The CPM leader pointed out since the past few months, farmers of Andhra Pradesh too have started protests, after realising that the three new agriculture laws will turn into a big hurdle for their livelihood in the future.