Farmers not fully aware of agriculture laws: survey

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sangeetha G

Business, In Other News

Of the 52 per cent farmers who were opposing the laws, over 36 per cent were not informed about the details of these laws as per a survey

Farmers block rail tracks near Multania during their agitation over new farm laws, in Bathinda, Thursday. — PTI photo

Chennai: While more than half of the farmers oppose the new agri laws, both supporting and opposing farmers are not fully aware of the laws, finds a survey.

A face-to-face survey conducted by Gaon >Connection in 53 districts of 16 states to find farmers’ perception of the new laws found that every second respondent opposed the three laws, while 35 per cent farmers supported these acts.

Of the 52 per cent opposing the laws, over 36 per cent were not informed about the details of these laws. Similarly, of the 35 per cent supporting them, almost 18 per cent were not informed about them.

The survey found that overall 67 per cent farmer respondents were aware of the recent three agricultural laws. Meanwhile, two-third was aware about the recent farmers’ protest in the country. Awareness about such protests was more among the farmers in the north-west region (91 per cent), which includes the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Least awareness was reported in the east region (West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh) where less than half (46 per cent) were aware about recent farmers’ protest.

The biggest fear of these new agri laws among the respondent farmers (57 per cent) is that they will now be forced to sell their crop produce at a lower price in the open market, while 33 per cent farmers fear the government will end the system of minimum support price (MSP).

As many as 46 per cent respondent farmers said they thought the three bills will lead to big corporates/private companies exploiting farmers. Further, 39 per cent respondents felt that because of the new agricultural laws, the mandi system/APMC will collapse in the country.

For 36 per cent sarkari mandi/APMC is the most preferred medium of selling and the largest proportion of farmers in the northwest region (78 per cent) prefer selling to these mandis. The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, gives farmers the right to enter into a contract with agribusiness firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters, or large retailers for the sale of future farming produce at a pre-agreed price. Further, The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020, is meant to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion, and potato from the list of essential commodities and do away with the imposition of stock holding limits.

Further, 59 per cent respondent farmers want the MSP system to be made a mandatory law in India. A bigger proportion of marginal and small farmers, who own less than five acres of land , support these agri laws in comparison to medium and large farmers.

Only 51 per cent said farming was profitable and fewer 34 per cent want their child to become a farmer.