Did one get to see farmers from South in the so called Farmer’s Protests in and around New Delhi? No, one can see farmers from Punjab getting Pizzas and Foot Massages, while they are protesting. But there is one single media who asked this question – where are farmers from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu or Kerala? It looks like the protests against the key farm laws are now in the hands of Urban Naxals and their sister organizations.
We saw similar organized efforts during the Shaheen Bagh when a simple protest into CAA metamorphosised into a sponsored protest complete with comfortable beds, biryanis and of course money. At that time too, we saw how the loony lefties and urban naxals along with jihadis worm their way into the protest venue and the violence that it spawned, leading to the now infamous Delhi Riots.
The issues are hand are simple. The New farm Bills basically take away the middle and the mafia that has been entrenched for decades in APMC Mandis. The farmers, big or small can sell where they want to. They can sell it a private producer as has been happening in many states for decades now, or at APMC Manids or by designated Govt procurement agencies. The bogey of contract farming is funny because, many states including Punjab have seen this concept at work for years now. No one in Punjab objected when Pepsico and farmers in the state signed deals for supply of potatoes.
The freedom to buy and sell fruits outside APMC mandis existed in some states and now that facility is has been extended to all agri produce across the country. Small landowners did not have the scale and bargaining power in the input and output markets.
In the New bill, farmers are empowered to access modern input, services and protection against price risk. Farmer producer organizations will help farmers in better bargaining.
Contract farming earlier was restricted to a few pockets but with the New Bill, it will be nationally enabled and on terms favourable to farmers, who will be partners in the value chain, unlike earlier.
Exports in the earlier scheme of things, were uncompetitive due to long chain of intermediaries and poor logistics and with the New Bills, things are going the other way with export competitiveness increasing and benefiting the farmers.
The old archaic law did not allow the farmer to sell to consumers directly even if it was in his old village, he had to carry the produce kilometers away to an APMC run mandi, incurring huge transport costs – only to be paid a pittance. Now, the farmer can sell to anyone he wishes, at a price that he or she feels is better for them. The commission earned by middlemen, agents and APMC mafia now has been totally eliminated, ensuring better price for farmers and consumers.
Now, all this is rankling the agents and middlemen as they stand to lose. The APMC’s which is a den of corruption and is eyed by politicians of all hues, due to the massive amount of money they make via their nominees. This is why you see the likes of Capt Amrinder Singh and the Badal and Family Pvt Ltd vociferously protesting against their billions being snatched away from them. It’s also funny in a way to Rahul Gandhi and Sitaram Yechury standing together, demanding an APMC law, while in Kerala and Bengal, there is no APMC’s in existence.