New Farm Bills, Definition, Benefits, Meaning
The government introduced three new acts to professionalise marketing of agriculture in India and ensure the welfare of farmers. These acts are the Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation Bill) that aims to permit the sale of agricultural produce outside the mandies regulated by APMCs. This will make the marketing of agricultural produce easier and profitable for farmers.
Other Two Bills The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill aims to explore and develop contract farming so that farmers can benefit collectively and the Essential Commodities Bill seeks to deregulate the production, supply, and distribution of food items such as cereals, potatoes, pulses, onions and edible oilseeds.
Benefits of New Bills
The benefits of these new bills for farmers will be
• The new laws allows the farmers to sell their crops anywhere outside the mandies. This will enable them to fetch better prices for their produce and prevent their exploitation by the middlemen present in the APMC mandies.
• Farmer will benefit from the direct market linkages and supply chains. They will not be required to pay any additional sum of money like in the APMC mandies. This increases their profit margins.
•Agri tech startups, food processors, exporters etc. will also be benefitted due to the new laws. This will improve the conditions of both the farmers as well as reduce the prices for consumers.
• As time will move, new private markets will be setup in various places because of demands from these places. Farmers will be able to sell their products in these markets without payment of any additional fees or cess. The new private players will also provide professionalised services to the farmers such as proper and scientific grading, pick up services, transport, digital payments, bonus offers, a better refrigeration and storage, live tracking of their produce etc.
• Online agri-trade and market places will also be setup on the lines of the e-commerce websites. This will eliminate the large chain of middlemen and intermediaries and reduce the farmer’s interaction with the cumbersome bureaucratic setup.
•Participation of private players and lesser regulation of markets will also improve the supply chains, increase investments in the marketing system and may also result in emergence of innovative solutions to solve common problems of Indian agriculture.
• Efficient supply chains are also going to reduce farm and transport wastages of the crops produced by the farmers. Perishable items will be transported and stored easily. Reduced wastage will surely incentivise the farmers to grow more such crops.
• Contract farming will be given a push and it will reduce price risk for the farmers. The farmer will get a pre-determined price for his produce as per the agreed quality of crops.
•Cooperative farming will also be promoted that will strengthen the bargaining power of the farmers. It will also reduce the intermediary chains in the marketing of produce so that the farmer grow best crops and not worry about the price they will get.
Though the farm bills promise a better price and better life to the farmers as well as the consumers but there are several concerns that have gone unaddressed. The farmers have protested in several states as there have been no consultations, debate and dialogue before passing these bills. Farmers fear that these bills will end the minimum price support provided by the government. The lack of bargaining power of farmers as compared to the large companies is a major concern. There is hardly any regulation outside the APMC mandies and farmers are concerned that they may be exploited by the private players without any government regulations. The changed stock limits will directly affect the farmers in negative ways. The state needs to take these concern into notice and resolve and address them by wider public consultation and debate. The new laws promise a lot to the farmers of India and this opportunity should not be wasted.
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