Nagaland BJP president Temjen Imna Along Credit: EastMojo Image

Kohima: Nagaland state BJP unit on Monday extended support to the contentious farm bills that witnessed widespread protests particularly in Haryana and Punjab. State BJP president Temjen Imna Along also said that the Opposition parties have created “false fears” in the minds of people.

The state chief said that the three ordinances: The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020; The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which have been cleared by the Lok Sabha is to “provide fair price for crops, to increase income and to increase the living standard of farmers”.

Addressing a press conference at his official residence in Kohima on Monday evening, Along, who is also the minister of Higher & Technical education, Tribal affairs, said that the Opposition parties have created “false fears” about the legislative bills which needs to be clarified.

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The Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020

The state party chief said that the first Bill will provide freedom for farmers to sell their produce by building mechanisms where farmers as well as businessmen can easily trade their products through other means and out of Mandis also.

It will also provide opportunities and mechanism where famers can sell their produce inside or outside the state, anywhere in the Country in an uninterrupted manner. Besides providing increased price to farmers for their produce by reducing the transport cost & taxes, it will also provide a more convenient system to farmers for selling their produce, via E-Trading system.

It will also provide freedom of trade in other business areas such as farmgate, cold storage, ware houses, processing units, apart from Mandis and will build direct contact of processors, exporters, organized retailors with the farmers, so that middlemen be kept away, said Along.

He went on to say that MSP will be continued in the exact manner as it was earlier and farmers can sell their produce on MSP. The MSP for Rabi Crops will be declared in the following week.

Mandis will not be abolished, and in addition, farmers will have E-Nam trading system in Mandis and there will be an increase in trade through Online Platform of Agri produce to create transparency and save time.

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The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020

The minister said that the second bill will connect farmers directly with businessmen, companies, processing units, exporters. The price of produce even before the sowing through agreement/contract will be fixed giving an assurance to the farmer for the price of their produce before sowing the crop.

Another provision is to save farmers from the uncertainties of the market and provide access of Modern Agricultural Technologies, agricultural equipment and advance fertilizers and seeds for the farmers.

It will also ensure that income of a farmer is increased, by reducing marketing cost, and in case of any dispute the settlement of dispute at local level within 30 days.

He added that farmers shall have complete freedom on Contract and will fix the price and sell the produce as per their own wishes, and at the same time receive the payment within three days maximum. All disputes will be settled at the local level.

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The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

The party chief highlighted that the third Bill will remove grains pulses, oilseeds, onion, potato and so on and in exceptional situation where more than 50% price rise is included, there will be no bar on stocking.

The investment on agriculture is expected to enhanced due to these provisions as there will be price stability and a healthy competition. An increase in the warehousing & processing of Agri produce is also expected which will enable a farmer to secure the produce and sell it when the right time comes.

He added that excessive regulatory interference in running private business and will enable the investment on Agri Sector. The Government will continue to have all the powers to control in case there is a price rise beyond a certain level.

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Impact of the Bills in Nagaland:

Along said that although the farming economy in Nagaland is “almost non-existent”, with the new provisions, farmers in the state can now plan to produce cash crops and reach out to bigger markets as the Bills aim to strengthen the Agri-sector.

He admitted that there is need to educate farmers in Nagaland about policies and schemes of the Government of India and that of the state government so that more farmers can benefit from it.

Along also recommended the formation of clusters/groups through which farmers can engage and enjoy benefits in a better way.

In addition to this, Phangnon Konyak, State BJP Mahila president, said while the state has ‘no middlemen’, through the provisions, it will improve and enhance the infrastructure for cold storages and so on. She added that the various policies and schemes of the government will be disseminated by party workers across all the districts by October 2.

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