Smart Economy


India offers protesting farmers support prices on agri-products

 Published: 12:09, 19 February 2024

India offers protesting farmers support prices on agri-products

Indian government has offered guaranteed support prices for pulses, corn and cotton in a bid to break a deadlock with protesting farmers, Trade Minister Piyush Goyal said after week-long clashes with security forces keeping the farmers out of Delhi.

Tear gas and barricades were used to deter the farmers, who form an influential voting bloc, months ahead of a general election due by May, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks a record third term.

Sunday's comments followed marathon talks with farmers' unions after the farmers, who are demanding a minimum price for their produce, were halted at a distance of about 200 km (125 miles) from New Delhi.

Goyal said the government had proposed five-year contracts between co-operative societies it promotes and farmers who diversify their crops to grow toor dal, urad dal, masoor dal and corn, for the purchase of such crops at a minimum support price.

"These organisations will buy the produce and there will be no limit on quantity," Goyal told reporters in the northern city of Chandigarh, adding that a similar price guarantee would also be offered to farmers who diversify and produce cotton.

The farmers unions said they would decide on the proposal within a day or two, after conferring among themselves to reach a consensus.

Police have used tear gas and barricades to stop thousands of farmers from marching to New Delhi to press their demand that the government set a minimum price for all their produce to ensure their livelihoods.