Lift export ban on wheat, other agri items: Farmers' bodies ask Govt
They conveyed their demand to the Finance Ministry during a customary consultation before drafting the Union Budget for 2023-24 to be presented in Parliament on Feb 1 next year. They also demanded that the government should focus on increasing the domestic output of local oilseeds such as soyabean, mustard, groundnut and sunflower, instead of palm. The imposition of higher taxes on processed foods was another suggestion made by them.
Farmers' organisations have asked the Centre to lift the ban on exports of agri items like wheat and restrict the import of products that cost below the minimum support price (MSP).
They conveyed their demand to the Finance Ministry during a customary consultation before drafting the Union Budget for 2023-24 to be presented in Parliament on February 1 next year.
They also demanded that the government should focus on increasing the domestic output of local oilseeds such as soyabean, mustard, groundnut and sunflower, instead of palm.
The imposition of higher taxes on processed foods was another suggestion made by farmers' bodies during their virtual meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
This was the third pre-budget consultation with the agriculture experts and the representatives of the agro-processing industry.
In his wish list for the Union Budget 2023-24, Bharat Krishak Samaj Chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar demanded that the government should "not allow (the) import of produce where landing costs are below MSP". He urged the Centre to focus on human resources development in the farm sector.
"Focus on human resources development over infrastructure — agriculture being a state subject & most states are not filling vacancies due to which there is rampant misgovernance, use of chemicals & attendant issues. @FinMinIndia find a way to fund this gap," he said in a series of tweets.
Jakhar also pitched for allowing voluntary carbon credits from farms to be traded globally to enable farmers to get the highest value.
Raghunath Dada Patil, President of the Consortium of Indian Farmers Association (CIFA), who also participated in the meet, said that the income of farmers had been adversely affected because of the restrictions on the export of farm produce like wheat and broken rice.
Patil said that during the meeting he suggested that the government should not go for imposing restrictions on exports of agricultural products.
According to him, exports would only help the country in getting foreign currency. India has restricted exports of wheat and broken rice to boost domestic supply and contain inflation.
To reduce India’s dependence on edibile-oil imports, Patil suggested that the focus should be on increasing the domestic production of soyabean, sunflower and groundnuts.
The meeting, held virtually, was also attended by Viren K Khona, Secretary, All India Spices Exporter Forum, (Kerala); AS Nain, Director, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, (Uttarakhand); Harish Chauhan, State President, State Fruits Vegetables & Flowers Growers Association (Himachal); and Jeffry Rebello, President, UPASI (Tamil Nadu).
Rakesh Kapur, Joint MD, IFFCO; Mohini Mohan Mishra, General Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh; and KV Rajkumar, President, South Indian Sugarcane Farmers Association (SISFA) (Tamil Nadu), too, participated in the meeting.
Maajid A Wafai, President, J&K Fruits & Vegetables Processing & Integrated Cold Chain Association; Nandita Sharma, Executive Director, Associated Tea and Agro Management Services (Assam); and Manoj Kumar Menon, Executive Director, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (Karnataka) also made various suggestions.