As mandis get shut, here are five ways the government can help farmers cope -Rajalakshmi Nirmal
-The Hindu Business Line
Encouraging farmers to hedge through futures and increased use of WDRA warehouses are among key options
With the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19, mandis where farmers sell their harvest have also been closed. Across the country, the harvest of several crops including wheat, mustard, chana and coriander has started and farmers are sitting on truckloads of grains and pulses.
In the kharif season, many farmers lost their soyabean and other crops due to excessive rains and were waiting for this rabi harvest to pay back their loans. But now they are now facing a new problem: closed mandis and crashing prices. While, initially, most States announced that mandis will open from April 1, it now appears as if they will be closed till April 14 due to the nationwide lock-down. There is now the risk of local traders exploiting small farmers and buying their produce at throwaway prices.
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The Hindu Business Line, 26 March, 2020, https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/covid-19-lockdown-of-mandis-a-new-challenge-for-farmers/article31160652.ece