In Pre-Budget Meet, Farmers' Bodies Ask Centre To Lift Export Ban On Wheat

The finance minister chaired her third pre-budget consultation with the experts of agriculture.
The finance minister chaired her third pre-budget consultation with the experts of agriculture.

In a pre-budget consultation with the finance ministry, farmers' organisations on Tuesday asked the government to lift ban on exports of agri items like wheat and restrict import of products that cost below the minimum support price (MSP).

They also demanded that the government should focus on increasing domestic output of local oilseeds such as soyabean, mustard, groundnut and sunflower, instead of palm.

Imposition of higher taxes on processed foods was another suggestion made by farmers' bodies during the virtual meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The finance minister chaired her third pre-budget consultation with the experts of agriculture and representatives of the agro processing industry here.

In his wish list for the Union Budget 2023-24, Bharat Krishak Samaj Chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar demanded that the government should "not allow import of produce where landing costs are below MSP".

He also urged the Centre to focus on human resources development in the farm sector.

"Focus on human resources development over infrastructure -- agriculture being a state subject & most states are not filling vacancies due to which there is rampant misgovernance, use of chemicals & attendant issues. @FinMinIndia find a way to fund this gap," he said in a series of tweets.

Jakhar also pitched for allowing voluntary carbon credits from farms to be traded globally to enable farmers to get the highest value.

When contacted, Raghunath Dada Patil, President of Consortium of Indian Farmers Association (CIFA), who also participated in the meet, said income of farmers has been adversely affected because of restrictions on export of farm produce like wheat and broken rice.

Patil said that during the meeting he suggested that the government should not go for imposing restictions on exports of agriculture products.

According to him, exports would only help the country in getting foreign currency.

India has restricted exports of wheat and broken rice to boost domestic supply and contain inflation.

To reduce dependence of India on edibile oils import, Patil suggested the focus should be on increasing domestic production of soyabean, sunflower and groundnuts.

Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to present the next Union Budget on February 1, 2023.

The meeting, held virtually, was also attended by Viren K Khona, Secretary, All India Spices Exporter Forum, (Kerala); A S Nain, Director, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, (Uttrakhand); Harish Chauhan, State President, State Fruits Vegetables & Flowers Growers Association (Himachal); and Jeffry Rebello, President, UPASI, (Tamil Nadu).

Rakesh Kapur, Joint MD, IFFCO; Mohini Mohan Mishra, General Secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Sangh; and K V Rajkumar, President, South Indian Sugarcane Farmers Association (SISFA) (Tamil Nadu) too participated in the meeting.

Maajid A Wafai, President, J&K Fruits & Vegetables Proccessing & integrated Cold chain Association; Nandita Sharma, Executive Director, Associated Tea and Agro Management Services (Assam); and Manoj Kumar Menon, Executive Director, International Competence Centre for Organic Agriculture (Karnataka) also made suggestions during the meeting.

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