New Ordinance

The Tamil Nadu government’s Ordinance on Tuesday, giving farmers the freedom to choose where they want to sell their produce within the state

The state’s Ordinance was intended to alleviate the distress caused by the invisible virus attack, and recently, the more visible swarm of locust-like grasshoppers that have attacked crops in the Delta region. The new Central Ordinance, aimed at reaching the ‘One India, One Agriculture Market’ goal, has added to this.

These come close on the heels of Telangana’s decision to regulate farming from the current kharif season, with the government advising farmers on what to cultivate to avoid a production glut.

The reforms come at a time when agriculture is the only sector still performing in an economy heading towards recession. However, there needs to be a good safety net to ensure farmers do not become vulnerable to corporate exploitation. The Central Ordinance includes safeguards for dispute resolution.

In the event of crop failure, farmers will have to repay the advance they received from the buyer. But where will they have the money to repay the advance if it is already spent and there is no yield? Will it push them further into debt? It remains to be seen how the safety net works in practice.

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