02-Dec-2005

Farmers Still Dying

The Hindu highlights the sorry state of the cotton farmers in one of Maharashtra's districts. High input costs, collapsed output prices due to dumping of subsidised cotton by rich countries, no access to bank loans. How will they make money?
Meanwhile, the advance bonus normally paid to cotton farmers has been scrapped. This amount of roughly Rs.500 used to be added on to the minimum support price for cotton declared by the Centre. The State admits it costs around Rs.2200 to produce a quintal of cotton. Yet the scrapping of the advance bonus means farmers will get Rs.1700 a quintal. A price last seen in 1994.
And the government responds like this:
No MP or MLA tried to even meet the NCF [National Commission on Farmers] team led by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan. This, although the team had in tow the young Rana Patil, Maharashtra's Minister of State for Agriculture. It gets worse. The MLAs from the districts most affected are mainly from the Shiv Sena and the BJP. Why help your rivals?
Why indeed.

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