Edible oil industry body Solvent Extractors’ Association of India on Friday said it was “really magnanimous” on part of the Prime Minister to announce the repeal of the three farm laws but said that reforms were necessary for the Indian agriculture sector to become competitive and improve farmers income.

The association hoped that agri reforms should continue to be implemented in a more politically acceptable manner.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government has decided to repeal the three farm laws, which were at the centre of protests by farmers for the past year, and appealed to the protesting farmers to return home.

“Our Honourable Prime Minister has given a Guru Purab gift to the protesting farmers of Punjab. In any case these Farm laws were already on the back burner and Supreme Court was also seized of the matter.

“With hardened opposition stand of the farmers for whose benefits these farm laws were designed it was really magnanimous on part of our Prime Minister to announce its withdrawal,” said Atul Chaturvedi President, SEA of India.

He said the agriculture sector is crying for massive reforms if it has to become competitive and improve farm incomes.

“Current high MSP (minimum support price) can never be sustainable as it would hurt consumers,” Chaturvedi said.

India’s farm productivity levels, which are less than 50 per cent of the world average in practically all agri commodities, have to go up to improve rural incomes, he added.

“We only hope agri reforms in a more politically acceptable manner should continue to be implemented,” the SEA president said.

Dr Kalyan Goswami, Director General, Agro Chem Federation of India (ACFI), welcomed the government’s decision to repeal the three farm Laws as it would help to break the ongoing impasse.

“We also appreciate the Prime Minister for his commitment to providing good quality seeds to the farmers, easy claim for damages and offering right price to the farmers for their produce. While the budget allocation on Agriculture has increased by five times since 2014, we expect the financial situation of the farmers to improve steadily,” Goswami said. 

Thousand of farmers, mainly from Punjab and Western Uttar Pradesh, had been protesting and were encamped at Delhi’s borders since November 2020 with a demand that the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 be rolled back and a new law made to guarantee MSP for crops.

(With PTI Inputs)

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