Punjab’s wheat procurement initiative garners support for agricultural reforms

The recent move by the Punjab government to designate 11 private silos as wheat purchase centers has been hailed as a significant step towards agricultural reform.

| Updated: 01 April, 2024 6:32 pm IST

NEW DELHI: The recent move by the Punjab government to designate 11 private silos as wheat purchase centers has been hailed as a significant step towards agricultural reform. S. Bhupinder Singh Mann, Ex-MP and Chairman of the All India Kisan Coordination Committee, lauded this decision while also advocating for additional measures to enhance the agricultural sector’s efficiency and competitiveness.

Mann emphasised the importance of leveraging Punjab’s primary agricultural produce, particularly wheat, often referred to as the region’s “Gold.” He proposed the establishment of a “Punjab Wheat Board” to effectively negotiate with both domestic and international buyers, thereby maximising the economic potential of the state’s agricultural resources. Additionally, Mann suggested considering the inclusion of scented Basmati rice, given Punjab’s geographical advantage in its cultivation.

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Highlighting the challenges faced by the agricultural sector, Mann underscored the need for comprehensive reforms and stable policies to drive its growth. He emphasized the conflicting interests of consumers and farmers and stressed the importance of balancing these interests through strategic reforms.

Mann advocated for the removal of draconian laws such as the Essential Commodities Act from the 9th Schedule, which he argued have impeded the freedom of farmers.

Regarding the adoption of modern food grain handling practices, Mann endorsed the transition to silos for storage to mitigate losses incurred through traditional storage methods. However, he expressed concern over potential opposition from vested interests benefiting from outdated storage systems.

Mann also criticized the perceived hypocrisy of certain “farmer leaders” who have raised objections to the recent notification despite their silence on similar initiatives in the past. He cautioned against falling prey to hidden agendas aimed at destabilizing Punjab through false narratives and fear-mongering tactics.

The support garnered by Punjab’s wheat procurement initiative underscores the growing consensus on the need for agricultural reforms to drive economic development and improve the livelihoods of farmers across the region.

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