Farmers Install solar panels in fields to generate additional income: Ashok Gulati.
Former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) Ashok Gulati pushed farmers to put solar panels in their fields to generate additional income, claiming that government policy is biassed on safeguarding the interests of consumers.
Gulati remarked during a round table discussion on the role and importance of the derivatives market in protecting farm income organized by commodity exchange NCDEX that farmers lose money whenever the government seeks to curb growing commodity prices.
‘The period of cereal is finished, and farmers must transition to high-value crops if they want to raise their revenue,’ he said, adding that solar panel installation provides a fantastic income opportunity because crops may be cultivated simultaneously on the property.
Gulati remarked of NCDEX’s options trading for agricultural commodities, ‘This is innovation, and it should be fostered rather than prohibited.’ He encouraged NCDEX executives to persuade the government of its importance given that farmers are campaigning for a minimum support price guarantee (MSP).
The previous CACP chairman also proposed using corporate social responsibility (CSR) funding to subsidize farmers’ option premiums in order to secure their income.
Avoid reactionary farm policy
Farmers’ premiums were subsidized in the first year as a trial after NCDEX introduced options trading in some commodities. According to certain leaders of agricultural producer organizations, farmers have returned to the mandis following the prohibition on soybean and chana futures and options (FPOs).
Former Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain spoke on the occasion, saying that in farm policy, knee-jerk reactions should be avoided. He stated that the recent stock holding limit on several commodities may hinder investment in the warehousing sector, despite the need for additional storage capacity. He also stated that the abrupt declaration of a wheat export embargo has harmed the country’s credibility.
Protest related to MSP
Meanwhile, a significant number of farmers rallied in Delhi under the name of Samyukta Kisan Morcha (non-political), a splinter organization of the main body that spearheaded the year-long protest against (the now repealed) three farm laws. They demanded that the MSP guarantee be fixed on the C2+50% formula.
In a letter to President Droupadi Murmu, the newly formed group demanded that the government honor the deal it struck with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha to halt the agitation on December 9, 2021.
The protest march in Delhi coincided with the inaugural meeting of the MSP committee, which was chaired by former agricultural secretary Sanjay Agrawal and explored the required themes widely. The team has been entrusted with identifying strategies to encourage zero-budget natural farming and crop diversity, in addition to making MSP more effective and transparent.