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Rising food prices pinching consumers whereas farmers continue to face losses!
Stiff rise in food prices (vegetables, pulses etc) always makes consumers angry. Activists, political opponents, some self-claimed intellectuals always blame the central government for food inflation. Similarly it's also a fact that Indian agrarian sector is facing crisis since decades. As a result many farmers have either left tye profession of agriculture (migrated to other places as bonded labourers) or preferred to commit suicide.

Here I must clear that the surveys and investigations say that farmer suicide is not solely due to agrarian crisis. However, one should realise that agricultural loss causes stress and frustration, which affect the farming community. Because of stress and frustration the community indulges in some other things/habits which which ultimately lead them towards suicide. Thus farm suicide is a direct result of agrarian crisis although other reasons too contribute as a collateral by-product.

In both the cases I always wonder why people directly blame the central government. Firstly, the artificial commodity shortage is due to black marketing and illegal hoarding. The state government has the responsibility of law and order, thus, the state is responsible for that. Similarly for agrarian crisis state governments are more responsible because although agriculture is a joint subject but the state governments are the actual implementer. Anyway let's leave this aspect while considering it as a matter of politics.

Now let's understand the contradiction in the issue. Farmers are in distress because they are not even able to earn the basic amount required for the daily expense, forget about the profit factor. On the other hand the consumers are in problem because of the stiff price rise. Isn't it a matter of intent deliberation that the producers are not getting the price, whereas the consumers have to pay heavily? What a paradox?

It's not that people don't know the reason. The TV channels are blaming the central government, the activists are seeking its head and the intellectuals are screaming 'Where are the achche din', while knowing very well the real reason behind why the farming community is in loss when the consumers are paying high prices for vegetables and pulses.

One would be surprised to note that if a consumer purchases an item for Rs 20/- per unit, then the actual producer gets just 1 to 2 rupees per unit! That means the consumer pays around 10 to 20 times of the cost the producer gets. Let me give an example.

A farmer sells an item for Rs 2 to its local aggregators. Local aggregator sales it to semi urban aggregator at Rs 4 per unit. By the time the product reaches to city centers price goes upto Rs 20 to Rs 25 per unit. There is factor of transportation, but then much of the money goes into the pockets of the aggregators or the middleman, who has no or minimum risk-less investment.

The best solution is multi brand retailing (FDI or no FDI). The bigger stores must have direct access to farmers and farm produces. Here if farmer gets Rs 8 per unit and consumer pays Rs 15 per unit, I think both of them will be satisfied. Farmer can sustain his livelihood where as consumer can have relieve from paying high prices.

But then the politicians, activists and self-claimed intellectuals will start asking question about how the middle men will survive.

However, if you want middlemen to flourish then stop screaming for farmers and consumers. If you want to help farmers and consumers then middlemen have to be eliminated from the chain.

Is getting rid of the middleman really unjustified? I don't think so. In today's business scenario middleman's role has been abolished from many businesses. People enjoy e-commerce because there is link between producers and consumers only. A producer gets his correct dues whereas the consumer also pays less.

Farm sector needs revival as well as consumers must not feel the heat of price rise. Solution is available. But will anybody look into it? Will anybody campaign for it? Perhaps no, because criticising Narendra Modi is the best job in hand for many. Who cares about these hapless farmers and helpless consumers?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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