Amid ongoing pandemic, the state government is standing with the farmers, said state agriculture minister Kamal Patel while talking to Free Press. He informed about the various initiatives taken by the state government to help farmers. At present, farmers across the state are running from pillar to post to get necessary items including seeds, fertiliser and agriculture machinery. With high demand and limited supply, there have been complaints about how traders are fleecing the farmers. Recently, a case of selling bogus seeds to farmers came to light. Patel said that action under the National Security Act would be taken against such persons.
Are the farmers getting fertilisers, seeds on time?
There is no need for farmers to run around for seeds and fertilisers because there is sufficient quantity available in all the centres. I have asked all the collectors to ensure there is no shortage. We have started a drive against the sale of bogus seeds and fertilisers and agriculture equipment. We recently caught a person selling bogus chilli seeds in Maheshwar, Khargone district.
There are complaints that the state is not doing enough to purchase wheat and other crops.
Currently, the government is procuring wheat from the farmers and most of the procurement work has been completed. The government has also made complete arrangements for wheat storage. In case of any complaint regarding procurement, action will be taken against the concerned officer. Recently, we got a complaint from Goregaon village in Narsinghpur where an SDM beat up a farmer. Taking cognizance, action has been taken against concerned officer there.
What step have been taken to help the farmers during the ongoing pandemic?
So far, a farmer had to pay weighing and labour charges, but now they don't need to bear this cost any more. Government has sanctioned Rs 5 crore for grading machines at Bhopal and Sehore. The government also thinking of installing grading machines in other districts in the state. The government has already disbursed Rs 2990 crore as crop insurance among 14,93,171 farmers across the state. Apart from this, the government has also extended the time limit for procurement of gram, masoor, mustard in the state.
What is the agriculture ministry doing for small farmer and labourers who have been badly affected by the pandemic?
We directed all the district collectors and SDMs in tehsil to ensure small farmers and labourers get meals. We are also preparing a list of farmers who are yet to get Rs 1000 from the government in their bank account so that they can be paid in cash.