New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday advised the Centre and State Governments to accord top priority to farmers and agriculture during the lockdown by facilitating the smooth conduct of farming activities and transportation of agri-produce during this period.
“Producers in agriculture are not organised and often their views go unheard. So, it is the duty of the governments to protect their interests,” Mr Naidu said, adding that though it is mainly the duty of the states, the Centre should guide and help them from time to time in this regard.
His comments came during an interaction with Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar at Upa-Rashtrapati Bhawan here, where he appreciated various measures taken by the Agriculture Ministry to protect the farm sector and wanted the interests of both producers and consumers to be safeguarded.
Responding, Mr Tomar explained in detail the steps taken to safeguard the interests of the farmers. He assured the Vice President that the Government would take all necessary steps to help the farmers in this hour of crises and said the Union Agriculture Ministry was working in close coordination with the states/UTs for this, an official release here said.
Calling for more focus on perishable agro-produce such as fruits and vegetables, the Vice President said special care must be taken of storage and marketing of these perishables. He also suggested tweaking of the APMC Act suitably so as to facilitate the purchase of farm produce directly from the farmers” so that nobody is forced to go to mandi. This will help in ensuring adequate availability of fruits, vegetables and other agri-commodities to the consumers,” Mr Naidu said.
He emphasised the need to ensure smooth transportation of farm produce and wanted the authorities to ensure that there was no hindrance during such transportation. Highlighting the current harvest season, he also called for free movement of farm machinery and equipment.