Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An income commission for farmers to end agrarian distress?

When little children in cities have a Happy Meal burger at McDonalds and get a Batman car or Ben 10 toy free, they are getting much more for free — all gift-wrapped by wheat and potato farmers in some far-off village. They are not paying for the labour put in by the farmer, the profits forgone by him, and the higher cost of living that he did not bill on the food buyer. The only remuneration he gets is based on the minimum support price (MSP) determined by the government which cannot be raised beyond a certain level for fear of pushing up food prices. MSP for wheat is less than Rs 11 a kg. MSP also does not take into account the cost of labour (free or paid), the cost of seeds (bought or traditional), or the cost of living.

Read More from Shreelatha Menon

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