Centre’s 5-Year Formula To Farmers Demanding Safety Net On Crop Prices

Centre’s 5-Year Formula To Farmers Demanding Safety Net On Crop Prices

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Farmers protest: MSP acts as a safety net and prevents losses.

Chandigarh:

A fourth meeting between the protesting farmers and a government delegation late last night seems to have made headway in the deadlock that saw a massive faceoff on the Punjab-Haryana border last week.

The government has proposed to buy pulses, maize, and cotton crops from the farmers in Punjab at the minimum safety price (MSP) for the next five years, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said after their Chandigarh meeting that lasted well past midnight.

The protesting farmers have sought two days to discuss the proposal in their forums while a decision on their other demands remains pending.

MSP refers to a price fixed by the government to protect farmers against a steep fall in crop prices. It acts as a safety net and prevents losses.

Mr Goyal, who met the farmers along with ministers Arjun Munda and Nityanand Rai, said government agencies will sign a contract with the farmers for the next five years for the proposed procurement and there will be no limit on the buying quantity.

Read | What Minister Piyush Goyal Said After 4th Meeting With Protesting Farmers

“Cooperative societies like the NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers Federation) and NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India) will enter into a contract with those farmers who grow tur dal, urad dal, masoor dal or maize for buying their crop at MSP for next five years,” the minister said.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who also joined the meeting, said the farmers need assured pricing if they must go for crop diversification. 

Farmer leader Sarwan Singh Pandher said they will take the opinion of experts and then decide on their future course of action. He also hoped that their other demands would also be resolved in the next two days

Read | “We Had Asked For MSP Guarantee On Purchase Of Pulses”: Bhagwant Mann

The ‘Delhi Chalo’ march, which saw thousands of farmers heading towards Delhi with their tractors filled with ration for months, will be put on hold. But the march will resume on February 21 if all their demands are not met, he said.

Besides a law on MSP, the farmers are also demanding a loan waiver, the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations, pension for farmers and farm labourers, and the withdrawal of police cases filed against them during the protests.

The farmers began their march to Delhi last Tuesday and are now camping at Shambhu and Khanauri borders between Punjab and Haryana, where layers of barricades have been erected to stop them. There has been no report of any confrontation with the security personnel since their last meeting held four days ago.

Delhi is also fortified with Ghazipur, Singhu, and other borders partially sealed. Concrete blocks and nails are placed on roads to stop their tractors and trollies from crossing over.

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