The Farmers Empowerment and Protection Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 is a significant step towards empowering farmers in India. The ordinance was promulgated in June 2020 and aims to provide farmers with better access to markets by giving them the freedom to sell their produce outside of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) system and enter into contracts with private players.
One of the key provisions of the ordinance is the Price Assurance and Farm Services Agreement. This agreement allows farmers to enter into contracts with buyers, processors, and aggregators, who will provide them with a range of services, such as inputs, technology, and information, and a guaranteed price for their produce. These agreements will help farmers in negotiating better prices and protect them from fluctuations in prices due to market volatility.
Additionally, the ordinance provides for a transparent dispute resolution mechanism for farmers and buyers, promoting fair trade practices. Farmers can approach the sub-divisional magistrate or additional district magistrate to resolve any disputes that may arise during the implementation of these agreements.
Another significant aspect of the ordinance is the provision for the establishment of an electronic trading platform for agricultural produce. This platform will provide farmers with access to a wider market and allow them to sell their produce at the best possible price. The platform will also help in reducing the barriers to entry for small farmers and promote the participation of women farmers.
The ordinance has been widely welcomed by farmers` organizations as it empowers them to make independent decisions regarding the sale of their produce and allows them to choose who they sell to. However, some critics have raised concerns about the potential exploitation of farmers by private players and the lack of a minimum support price (MSP) guarantee. The government has emphasized that the ordinance is not a replacement for the MSP system and that MSPs will continue to be determined and announced by the government.
In conclusion, the Farmers Empowerment and Protection Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 is a significant step towards empowering farmers and promoting fair trade practices in India. It provides farmers with better access to markets, protects them from market volatility, and establishes a transparent dispute resolution mechanism. The establishment of an electronic trading platform for agricultural produce will open up new opportunities for farmers, particularly small and women farmers, and help in transforming the agriculture sector in India.