Farmers facing the brunt of inflation: Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti
NAGPUR: A day after Union steel minister Beni Prasad Verma welcomed high inflation saying it was good for farmers as they were getting more for their produce, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti has strongly contested the claim. "Verma is trying to mislead the country by creating an impression that benefits of high prices of all commodities were going to farmers. The reality is that farmers are hardly getting price for their crops based on input costs. In fact, farmers are getting crushed by higher costs of all inputs and shrinking incomes," said Kishore Tiwari of VJAS.
"Agriculture prices are market driven and there is no government intervention. Vidarbha cotton farmers are worst sufferers as they are not cultivating food crops and buying food from market. So inflation is main cause of distress and despair resulting in farmers' suicides," said Tiwari. "We have been demanding food security under pubic distribution system to dryland farmers since 2006. It is grossly unfair of Verma to even suggest that farmers are benefiting from inflation and rolling in profits," said Tiwari.
"In reality, farmers are victims of inflation. Costs of inputs like fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, labour, electricity, transport, have multiplied manifold in the last two years forcing farmer to spend more on production. However, the produce is sold at less price that does not even meet the expenses. Be it pulses, wheat or rice, farmer is forced to sell crop at a loss. The cycle continues as he takes fresh loans for next crop, incurs fresh losses, is unable to clear mounting debt burden and is then forced to commit suicide," said Tiwari.
"Perhaps the minister is not aware that last year Vidarbha farmers sold pulses and paddy at far less rates than the MSP. In retail market, food prices are four times what the farmers get for their crop. Market forces (read traders) and MNCs are controlling the prices through commodity exchanges, future trading. The farmers are not making money, they are getting killed," said Tiwari.
"The statement of Verma, which was later supported by Salman Khurshid, speaks of the mindset of the Congress ministers and anti-farmer government. Inflation, price rise affects farmers the most. Such insensitive remarks can aggravate the agrarian crisis in the country," Tiwari said.